A $10.5 million renovation transformed the 44,000-square foot former conference center, built in 1981, into a modern medical hub. The center combines a host of services once scattered at about a half-dozen sites.
The center includes features such as valet parking and chemotherapy bays equipped with individual flat-screen televisions, thermostat controls, and wireless Internet. A calming color palette of sage green and taupe greets visitors instead of sterile hospital white. Such design details, as well as new treatment technologies, address patients’ mind, body, and spirit, said Allen Seifert, the center’s administrative director.
“Cancer patients by nature have a very grim outlook on life. It’s the most devastating news that you are ever going to hear in your life, you know, that you have cancer. So to be able to bring them into a center that’s bright, that’s … fresh, that’s cheery, that has friendly people and great technology — that is part of the battle in cancer care,” he said.
The center’s first floor offers chemotherapy, radiation, and imaging services. The second floor houses 13 exam and three procedure rooms to be used by about 20 specialists, including oncologists and surgeons. Procedures such as ultrasounds and biopsies can be performed at the center.
Having those specialists on site distinguishes the center at UTMC, formerly the Medical College of Ohio, from other area cancer-care facilities, Mr. Seifert said.
Doctors are especially enthusiastic about the radiation-treatment technology. A new linear accelerator machine allows for image-guided radiation therapy and can cut in half the time it takes to do radiation sessions. Among other functions, the high-quality images it generates help ensure the patient is positioned correctly during treatment, and the time reduction means a patient has to remain in an uncomfortable position for a shorter period.
“If you are treating a patient with lung disease, they may have trouble lying down, and the faster that we can treat them, the faster we can get them off the table and on their way,” said David Pearson, department of radiation oncology assistant professor.
Dr. Changhu Chen, radiation oncology chairman, said the technology provides more precise and “faster, better” treatments that will allow the center to treat more patients daily.
“We are going to strive to provide the care for our cancer patient [that’s] good enough for anybody’s family member, including mine,” he said.
A PET-CT scanning machine in a nearby suite combines two scanning abilities in one fixed device. The machine is large to accommodate bigger patients and to allow patients to maneuver to the correct position, officials said. Officials singled out other equipment in the new cancer center that will allow them to treat patients efficiently at one place.
Dr. John Feldmeier, the former radiation oncology chairman, pointed to the convenience of accessing multiple services and specialists. “We can do multidisciplinary care,” Dr. Feldmeier said.
The center also will offer massage, aromatherapy, and exercise classes.
UTMC sees about 700 new cancer patients a year. Reusing an existing building saved money on the cancer-center project, which took about a year to complete. It was funded through bonds and operating funds.
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