MetroHealth System expands green space as part of transformation into a 'hospital in a park'

This artist's rendering shows what the completed campus transformation could look like. (Image: MetroHealth)

Cleveland-based MetroHealth System is transforming its campus to include far more green space, designing it as a "hospital in a park."

MetroHealth's 52-acre campus has approximately 1 to 2 acres of green space, but that will increase to 25 acres as part of the transformation project, according to a blog post from the system. The added parks and green space will be open to the public, and include walking paths and a wellness garden. 

"Adding all this green to our footprint isn't just about beautifying our campus," according to the blog. "We'll be able to incorporate therapies and arts in medicine programming into patients' healing regimens." 

Hospital redesigns, both on the scale of MetroHealth's and smaller improvements, can boost patient satisfaction and ease their fears. Many providers are turning to the hospitality industry for ideas. 

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MetroHealth believes that its campus updates will not only improve care but could spur revitalization in Cleveland as well, CEO Akram Boutros, M.D., told The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"We're committed to making this a community to be enjoyed by its current residents, but also we have to be committed to bringing new people in," he said. "Otherwise this neighborhood is not sustainable as it is with so many vacant and underutilized properties." 

Boutros told the newspaper that all of the upgrades will be covered within the $945.7 million in revenue bonds it issued last year.

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In addition, the integrated health system is considering traffic flow, parking and the overall patient experience as it designs the new campus, writes Walter Jones, MetroHealth's senior vice president, campus transformation, in another post. The primary goal, he said, is to make it easy for patients to arrive and park at the hospital and get to their destination without delays, anxiety or confusion. 

He says designers are taking an evidence-based approach to the transportation needs.

"We are looking at data and research into which types of tools—signs, visual cues, maps, colors, corridor systems, dedicated pathways, etc.—are most effective in a healthcare setting to reduce the stressers of wayfinding and make the environment more healing and more recuperative," Jones writes.