The Building is Part of the Healing Process

By Daniel Barchi, CIO, New York-Presbyterian

Nationally, healthcare is increasingly delivered in an outpatient environment. Knee replacements, chemotherapy, and interventional radiology that require hospitalization are now done in a single day. In 2012, the leadership and Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian recognized this trend and the need for a world-class ambulatory healthcare facility in New York City. In May 2018, when the 750,000-square-foot David H. Koch Center opens on East 68th Street in Manhattan, that vision will be realized.

Traditionally, clinical buildings have been more of a place for physicians and nurses to deliver care. The David H. Koch Center both provides that space for care and is part of the healing process itself. The experience starts long before the patient arrives at the center, as NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine physicians have created an electronic process to prepare patients for their care. Patients have the flexibility to complete their pertinent paper work remotely via the NYP app, a patient portal or dedicated patient ambassadors. This process guarantees that maximum attention is paid to the patient’s clinical needs at the time of the visit. The pre-surgical anesthesia screening, which today requires a visit to see an anesthesiologist a week before the procedure, can now be done from home via a five-minute video visit on the patient’s mobile phone via the NYP App.

On the day of the procedure, patients who have downloaded the NYP App will be able to navigate from their home to the specific office or room number in the building. When the patients arrive at the building, patient ambassadors will guide them through getting their wireless wristbands to their appropriate floor. Those patients who still need to complete their registration will have an option of working with a tablet-equipped staff member or on one of the welcome kiosks.

Family members and other visitors will receive bands as well for identification and access. Knowing the location of patients, staff and visitors in all of the public spaces of the building will both make access safer, eliminate the need for large central waiting areas and allow patients and families to enjoy the café on the second floor during their visit. The café itself will be an experience different than other healthcare environments. Run by Restaurant Associates, it will feature fresh meals thoughtfully prepared to satisfy and enhance wellbeing.

The building is also home to Integrative Health and Wellbeing at NewYork-Presbyterian, in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine. This program strives to help patients, their families and physicians complement the best in medical and surgical care with the most coherent and effective methods of promoting self-care and self-healing for preventing and managing acute and chronic diseases. The center applies newly discovered principles of nutrition, psychologic care, mind-body therapies such as meditation and breathwork, and physical practices such as acupuncture and massage therapy to the medical setting.

As patients approach their appointment, they may not notice the technology and building design that is making their visit run smoothly. With a unified patient schedule throughout the David H. Koch Center, the building’s ability to sense patient location, and a layout that allows patients to go straight from the elevator to their exam or procedure preparation room, there is no need for large waiting areas. Furthermore, the procedure preparation rooms are designed to be a comfortable place for families to wait and for the patient to recover post-procedure.

Even the walk to the procedure preparation room will be pleasant. The halls on the building perimeter are lined by external windows that filter light through millions of wooden micro slats sealed between energy efficient glass.

The building is as efficient for clinical staff as it is comfortable for patients. The generously sized exam and procedure rooms are designed for smooth workflow with the latest technology and the ability to adopt new technology as soon as it is viable. Even core functions like delivery and staging of the tools and materials needed for each case are optimized. For example, a case cart is uniquely prepared for each procedure and will be waiting in the room for that case and the case after to allow for efficient room turnover.

As patients prepare to leave, they will be guided back to the lobby in an automated process which both closes their encounter and connects them with their car from the valet or guides them to transportation.

The David H. Koch Center was designed with the patient in mind at every turn. A beautiful, efficient environment to make outpatient care a smooth, healing process.