The (Medical) Mall Has it All
A new complex of medical offices in Dover reflects the new style of health care: one-stop service—with a little bit of shopping, too.
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“I sent him downstairs for an X-ray of his hip, which is not something I would ordinarily do—I’m a podiatrist,” he says. “But his hip film was negative, and we could continue right where we were before.”
Barnett has had Express Care call to have him look at a patient who showed up with an incarcerated hernia.
“Before, they’d have to send them to the ER, where they’d have to wait three or four hours,” Barnett says. “I’m able to reduce the hernia and save them a trip to the ER.”
The center also provides an ideal setting for healthcare conferences and patient education. Eden Hill has two conference rooms—2,000 and 600 square feet respectively—that can host community activities, physician meetings and patient seminars.
“Bayhealth wants to use it for some of their educational sessions, and the OB/GYN doctors are talking about having Lamaze classes for their patients,” Barnett says.
Planning a medical center presents unique challenges. The list of special needs can be a lengthy one. Eden Hill is a co-op, meaning each tenant leases space from the corporation that owns the facility. Just about every tenant owns shares in the corporation, Barnett says.
One advantage is that the tenants were able to customize their space to optimize the patient experience.
Dr. Carolyn Apple, president and medical director of Express Care and one of Eden Hill’s seven board members, says that starting from scratch allowed her and her partners to consider such specifics as how they wanted to enter a room, where they wanted the examining tables placed, and where they wanted to sit in relation to the patient.
Setting up at Eden Hill allowed the Delaware Surgery Center to expand to four times its previous size, consolidate its departments under one roof, and design its space to allow for better patient flow, says COO Suzanne Roderheiser.
“The hemi-circle on the left is administration and the hemi-circle on the right is for patient flow,” she says. “So you go from reception to admissions to the OR to recovery and then out. We have a portico now where cars can drive up and pick the patients up.”
Barnett says designers purposely kept some services clustered, such as radiology, the lab and walk-in medical care.
So can X-rays and cosmetic surgery be sold like jeans and big-screen TVs?
“It will be up to the patients to decide,” Barnett says.
The hope is that while they’re at the center, patients might be prompted to get a flu shot or a mammogram or to investigate a health concern.
Barton is already seeing results.
“I’ve already had patients just because they see my name on the board when they come to see another doctor,” he says. “I think it’s going to pay off very big for all of us in this building.”
Apple has had a similar experience at Express Care. “I had a woman whose husband was having same-day surgery down in the surgery center,” she says. “She had some problems with her knee for a couple of days, so while she was waiting for her husband to come out of surgery, she decided to come down to Express Care and be seen. They definitely see it as a convenience.”
One thing is certain: Eden Hill has generated a lot of enthusiasm among Dover physicians. Plans are already underway for a second 30,000-square-foot building on the 25-acre campus. Tenants are being lined up, and Barnett hopes to add an orthopedic practice and physical therapy.
“I think, as a physician, if you’re coming to Dover, you’ll want to be in a place like this as opposed to one of those stand-alone buildings,” Barnett says.