Over the past 20 years, Penn Medicine has led the way in mapping the transition of more and more patient care services into ambulatory settings. Starting with Penn Medicine Radnor, which opened in 1997, the Health System has been providing an increasing number of outpatient services throughout the region that were formerly only available in the hospital. The latest efforts ensure that patients have access to cutting-edge treatment close to home, without a drive to Penn Medicine’s main campus in Philadelphia.
Over the course of the summer, Penn Medicine opened the doors of its latest state-of-the-art outpatient facility, a brand new Penn Medicine Radnor that writes the next chapter of Penn Medicine’s future-forward approach to outpatient care. “It’s all a person’s care in one convenient location, close to home, and with all the clinical excellence of Penn Medicine,” said Tracey Commack, associate executive director.
Designed with the Patient in Mind
At 250,000 square feet — twice the size of the original Penn Medicine Radnor — the new facility offers state-of-the-art care not available elsewhere in the region. The building’s layout was designed along service lines that group together clinicians by type of condition they treat, such as heart and vascular care, to encourage closer collaboration among specialists and easy access when patients need to see multiple providers in one visit. “It’s more of a center model, like the Perelman Center, treating the whole patient,” Commack said.
That means that cancer patients, for instance, benefit from all the expertise from Penn Medicine’s world-class physicians and staff and a slate of programs and treatment options that put Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center among the nation’s best — all within a short drive from home. Patients with cancer who visit Radnor can see specialists who treat their cancer from all angles — surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, plus supportive care teams — get advanced diagnostics and participate in the latest clinical trials without driving into Philadelphia.
It’s a patient-centered model that gives families back time when it matters most, and makes the highest quality academic health system care accessible to even more patients.
And, although no one could have predicted the onset of COVID-19, Radnor was fortuitously designed with enough space to ensure proper social distancing at a time when ensuring patient safety is especially paramount. “Wide hallways and waiting rooms that are spread out. Even with a high volume, it doesn’t feel crowded.”
Centralized registration means “patients only need to check in in one place, one time, no matter how many appointments that day,” she said. “One HIPAA form to sign, one place to pay their copay.” And staying open to 9 pm during the week — and Saturday hours — will ensure that patients can get great care whenever it’s most convenient to them.
Penn Medicine Radnor offers Penn Medicine’s first truly freestanding ambulatory surgical facility in the region. While no high-risk procedures can be performed — the facility is not connected to a hospital if higher level care were needed — the six ORs will support a variety of surgical procedures, including breast reconstruction and lumpectomies, hernia repairs, and cystoscopies and cataract removal. Endoscopies — with a capacity for twice as many patients as the old facility — are already up and running, with all surgical services being available by March 2021.
The standards of the Radnor ORs equal those in hospitals. In fact, because the license for the new Radnor facility is under HUP’s name, “everything must be to the level of care provided there,” Commack said. “We are held to the highest standards for quality and safety and appreciate the hospital’s exceptional oversight of the facility.”
Radnor is also Penn Medicine’s first outpatient facility to have its own centralized instrument processing (IP) department — another feature that adds efficiency and ensures patient safety. “This on-site center allows scopes and instruments to be cleaned and properly sterilized using the most up-to-date technology and increases the level of service provided to all of the outpatient practices,” Commack said.
The IP system will be managed by Penn Medicine’s Interventional Support Center, a soon-to-opened central instrument processing facility that will be the first in the tri-state area and the largest in the country. In addition to overseeing Radnor’s IP, the ISC will combine IP services from HUP and Pennsylvania Hospital, as well as their respective Philadelphia outpatient facilities: the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and the Tuttleman Center.
Commitment to the Environment
The 11-acre campus of Penn Medicine Radnor was designed to enhance the connection with nature. Instead of the mown lawns typically found on suburban campuses, patients will see more than 250 trees and a meadow with tall wildflowers, attracting both bees and birds. In addition, many of the windows have “bird safety glass,” which has small dots imprinted on the glass to help birds see the glass and prevent them from flying into it.
Rain gardens on the campus allow storm water to slowly seep back into the soil rather than running off pavements. Three underground cisterns manage all storm water on site, helping to keep the native plants — for all four seasons — well watered without the use of an irrigation system. “It’s much more calming than a person’s typical health care experience,” said architect Jason Cole, project designer at Ballinger. Designed for LEED certification, “the facility adheres to Penn Medicine’s commitment to sustainability.”
Because being outside in nature can increase feelings of well-being, a 2.4-mile trail runs through the campus and will connect to a future township trail network. “It’s well lit and easily accessible,” he said.
But this soothing environment continues on the inside as well, with sunlight streaming in through large windows throughout the facility. “When patients walk through the door, we want them to breathe a sigh of relief that they will be taken of,” Commack said. “There’s so much anxiety for patients — navigating their care, a list of things to follow up on. We want to give them everything they need so they have a plan. They will never leave not knowing what to do.”