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Penn’s newest indoor medical pool has an underwater treadmill and underwater cameras.

The aqua therapy pool, a fraction of the size of a backyard pool, is a feature of Penn Medicine University City, a new outpatient and surgical center located at 38th and Market streets that celebrated its opening on Friday. It is an extension of Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and was developed with a $38 million investment from Penn Medicine. When it opened, the center became the biggest rehab center in all of Philadelphia, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Penn Partners Lisa Marsilio said.

The center is a shimmering tower with an internal design that officials say will improve the patient experience. The building was conceptualized with a focus on the integration of research, medicine, teaching and service to the community.

“Each generation here gets a chance to reinterpret what patient care means,” CEO of University of Pennsylvania Health System Ralph W. Muller said.

Patients may be directed to waiting areas that unite those seeking treatment for the same conditions.

“[The waiting rooms] put people who are here for the same reason together to start a conversation,” Director of the Penn Musculoskeletal Center Fabian Marechal said.

Patients can also learn more about their injuries and treatments by searching through iPads that are available while they wait. Consultation and treatment rooms are designed with computers that pivot so that doctors don’t need to turn their backs to their patients when accessing information about their patients’ health. Large screens also allow doctors to show patients images or health educational videos.

“Penn is all about innovation and to change the way we do things,” Marechal said.

Marechal said that data and survey results obtained from other Penn health facilities directed the development of Penn Medicine University City so that changes to health care delivery were aligned with what patients wanted.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Penn Medicine University City won’t be the last for Penn Presbyterian in the near future — the Pavilion for Advanced Care will open in early 2015.

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