There’s a lot of construction going on around here. While this is not unusual, there seems to be an avalanche of new buildings opening lately, from Penn Medicine University City to the Pavilion for Advanced Care to the Henry Jordan Center for Medical Education. Now, add to the list the Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center, which opened Monday in the newly expanded South Pavilion of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.
The outpatient facility joins together our neurology, neurosurgery, neurodiagnostics, neuropsychology and neuroophthalmology expertise and the neurologic and psychiatric services of the Penn Memory Center. All longtime partners in the care of patients with complex neurological diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and MS; neurosurgical disorders of the spine, including congenital disease, arthritis-related disc problems and tumors of the spine and brain, including brain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease, the Penn Neuroscience Center allows for enhanced collaboration, information-sharing and a united front in caring for patients with these debilitating illnesses.
“Our aim is to improve and enhance the patient experience by giving our physicians more opportunities for care consultation and providing space for conversations with patients and families so that they may feel fully engaged in their or their loved ones care,” says M. Sean Grady, MD, Charles Harrison Frazier Professor of Neurosurgery and chair of the department of Neurosurgery. “We recognize that our patients often come to us with some level of anxiety and trepidation, so we have added more staff for improved patient flow, new and updated patient rooms and a brand new 85-seat waiting area with ample natural light.”
The 40,000 square foot Neuroscience Center includes 35 shared exam rooms (three of them bariatric-equipped), 14 consultation rooms, four rooms with specialized ophthalmology equipment, 10 EEG/EMG rooms, a radiology reading room and space for research coordination and clinical trial enrollment to serve the upwards of 250 patients per day who will enter its doors.
Collaborating for a Better Patient Experience
Patients with epilepsy, for example, will now be able to receive comprehensive care in one location. For the two thirds of patients with epilepsy who respond to seizure medications, a team led by Penn neurologists specializing in the care of epilepsy patients, epileptologists as they’re known, manage the care of these patients, in partnership with nurse practitioners and social workers who have special expertise in epilepsy care.
But, for those complex patients who require consultation with a neurosurgeon, neuropsychologists and psychiatrists, the Penn Neuroscience Center makes all these experts available, co-located in one office location, a one-stop outpatient experience for patients with most all neurological and neurosurgical diseases. The same is in process for stroke care and patients with many other complex neurological diseases that require a multi-pronged, collaborative approach. The Center is truly a shared services model, with seamless interaction across all disciplines, resulting in an improved patient experience and improved patient outcomes.
A Long History
Penn has a long history of caring for patients with neurological disorders. Our department of neurology, established in 1871, is the oldest in the country and has pioneered essential treatments and neurodiagnostic techniques in the field.The department sees patients across 12 specialties including general neurology, movement disorders, neuro-oncology, stroke and neurovascular care, and more as well as many subspecialty programs and a robust research program. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the department highest in the Philadelphia region for neurology.
Neurosurgical care at Penn also has roots in the late 19th century. Charles Harrison Frazier, an 1892 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was a neurosurgery pioneer who developed basic surgical techniques for operating on the brain and nervous system that helped move neurosurgery into a discipline of its own separate from general surgery.
Add to this the work of Penn’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, established in 1992 and headed by co-directors John Q. Trojanowski, MD, and Virginia M. Lee, PhD, MBA. Together they identified neurofibrillary tangles as one of two distinguishing brain lesions of Alzheimer’s disease and continue to inform neurodegenerative research and patient care through Penn’s experts in the care of patients with cognitive neurological issues and in need of geriatric psychiatric, geriatric medicine, neuropsychology, and at the support available at the Penn Memory Center.
“We are embarking on a new age of collaboration and integration,” says Frances Jensen, MD, professor and chair of the department of Neurology. “All across the Penn Medicine campus, we are finding new ways to work together for the benefit of our patients. The Penn Neuroscience Center is the next great example of how working as one—in research and patient care—can inform what we know about these diseases and how we treat patients with them into the future. We are writing the next chapter in our shared history.”