IU Health has opened a $10 million state-of-the-art out-patient family medicine center on the site of the former Wishard Hospital emergency room near Indiana Avenue and 10th Street.
The need was created when the former medical center along Senate Avenue was demolished to make way for the new IU Health Hospital on the medical campus in downtown Indianapolis.
The IU Health Family Medicine Center, 1040 Wishard Blvd., will accommodate more than 60 providers while addressing patient needs; with more than 40 doctors in training IU School of Medicine has the largest family medicine residency program in the state.
Here’s what you need to know about the center that opened in July:
New IU medical center has plenty of space
With two floors and more than 46,000 square feet, the center is nearly double the size of its predecessor. The previous center had opened when there were 18 medical residents in the family medicine program.
Now, there are more than twice as many doctors staffing the new center, which makes it one of the largest family medicine practices in the state, said Dr. Deanna Willis, a family medicine doctor at IU Health and vice chair in research and family medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
The center serves more than 15,000 patients a year, about 40% of whom are on Medicaid. While IU Health officials do not expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of patients they serve in the new center, the extra space gives them flexibility should they see an influx of people needing care.
Novel clinic design will have central workroom for providers
The clinic is comprised of four pods, each with about a dozen patient exam rooms around a large provider workroom.
Every exam room has two doors ― one off the hallway that patients walk down, the other that opens into the providers’ room. In all there are 48 patient rooms, one of which can be used for procedures.
These “donut-shaped” pods with the “hole” of the provider room in the middle help decrease traffic in the patient hallway and place all the providers working the rooms in that pod in one space to help facilitate communication between staff.
Clinic design improves patient privacy
The new design leads to enhanced patient privacy as medical staff are not clustered in a hallway, with patients walking by computers open to other patients’ medical records. Decreasing congestion in the halls makes it easier for patients to navigate.
Patient notices major difference
On his first visit to the new facility, Maurice Sanders, 46, and his caregiver Yolanda Smith noticed a difference. Sanders has been coming to the clinic for the past two years for treatment for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension.
The new site is far more accessible for patients like Sanders who uses a wheelchair, in part, because the rooms are much bigger.
“I like that the doctors and nurses are coming from that end,” Smith said, gesturing toward the door from the exam room that leads to the provider workroom. “It feels more private.”
Central provider room improves communication
From the provider standpoint, the pod concept helps decrease how far providers have to walk as they go from patient room to patient room.
In the old space, one might have to walk from one end of the often crowded clinic to the other, Willis said.
While the aspect of the design proved a boon for providers, the open work space took a little longer to catch on, said Mohit Limdi, practice administrator.
“It was a little bit of an adjustment; you’re all going to be in the same space,” he said. “Other places have shown this to work.”
By bringing everyone into the same place, the shared space sparks more conversation between residents and faculty, said Dr. Molly Rettinger, a second-year resident in family medicine.
“There’s a lot more learning that happens because everyone is there at the same time,” she said. “I think it’s a huge step up.”
Model may improve care
When clinic officials began considering what they would want in a new space, they looked to other places for a model close to their vision. They liked an approach in use at Creighton University, Willis said.
Creighton professors showed in a published paper that after they implemented the model, their highest-risk patients experienced fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
Once Willis and colleagues identified what they wanted to do, they had to find a place in which they could do it.
“It was such an innovative design,” Willis said. “We were lucky to have this space that was shell because there aren’t that many buildings designed with a donut space in the middle.”
Contact Shari Rudavsky at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @srudavsky.