New Penn Medicine outpatient building centralizes care
The building's design is also environmentally friendly
October 3, 2013, 5:26 pm · Updated October 3, 2013, 7:55 pm·
Imran Cronk | DP
Penn Medicine’s newest building is all about the patient.
Penn Medicine Washington Square is a new outpatient building in the center of Philadelphia. The 153,000 square foot building was built to address the needs of both doctors and patients, and will serve specifically as an outpatient center for the Pennsylvania Hospital.
“Being the first hospital in the country, we have many old buildings and a lot of our physicians’ offices haven’t been updated in a few years and they were too small and didn’t allow for expansion,” said Mike Buckley, executive director of Pennsylvania Hospital — which is a part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Health System.
Many of the practices that were once situated in the main campus of the hospital, which is located at 8th and Spruce streets, have now moved to the outpatient center. The once scattered offices are now in one central location at 8th and Walnut streets.
Penn Medicine Washington Square houses doctors from a wide range of services, including cardiology, primary care, surgery and women’s health. Now that doctors from various practices are located in one building, patients can coordinate their visits and doctors can work together to ensure the best care for their patients.
“Services are coordinated and coherent and co-located so that when a patient comes in and they need a referral to another doctor they can walk down the hall or take a short elevator ride,” said Ralph Muller, CEO of UPHS.
The building was designed around creating a better patient experience. For example, all of the waiting rooms are on the north side of the building, with a glass exterior that allows for sunlight. The exam rooms are placed toward the center of the building and there are now more consultation rooms available for physicians to talk to patients and their families.
“It’s a very patient friendly, environmentally friendly and tech friendly environment and and it’s a great space for providers and patients and families,” said Daniel Feinberg, chief medical officer for Pennsylvania Hospital.
The new building also marks a shift within the system toward outpatient care.
“More and more medicine is becoming outpatient centered and not hospital centered, and we’ve made this really nice investment in an outpatient facility where our specialty practices reside,” Feinberg said. He attributes this shift in focus to changes resulting from President Obama’s health care policy.
In line with this, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania recently built their own outpatient center, the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. Additionally, Penn Presbyterian, another hospital in the health system, is beginning work on two new outpatient centers for patients with both general and musculoskeletal-related health problems.
The health system invested $22 million in the interior of the new building on Walnut along with the developer, Liberty Property Trust, who invested $49.6 million.
The new outpatient building is also a green urban redevelopment site.
The building features energy efficient heating and cooling systems, bathrooms that are meant to maximize water efficiency and a green roof terrace, which retains stormwater. This is all going toward “having a better carbon footprint,” Muller said.
Since the opening of the site, Feinberg said, the feedback has been very positive.
“It’s a really strong commitment from the health system to Pennsylvania Hospital. We did not really have state of the art outpatient space, and it was a big commitment and showed a lot of faith in the hospital and the Center City community that we serve, and that’s an important aspect of this for our staff,” Feinberg said.