Patient-centered care new focus in UConn's new facility

Hospital leaders at UConn Health Center hope a new facility will help bring a more integrated, one-stop, patient-centered experience, and give the organization a more competitive boost after many years of financial struggle, according to the Hartford Business Journal.

The new 300,000-square-foot building, which is still under construction and set for completion in December, will bring all of the provider's outpatient services under one roof, feature new technology and a physical design that will foster collaboration, and change care delivery, Denis Lafreniere, M.D., medical director of UConn Medical Group, told the publication.

The new building will host services ranging from primary care to oncology to physical therapy, and will streamline the care process and eliminate inefficiencies in the system. It will also eliminate silos by taking down walls between departments, allowing physicians to more easily communicate and collaborate, according to the article. Doctors from different departments will share 120-square-foot exam rooms, reducing the outpatient centers' overall space needs.

The new facility will use more natural light, boast simpler building navigation, offer consolidated patient check-in and check-out services and other amenities to improve the patient experience, according to the article.

App-based technology and electronic health records will connect providers with each other immediately, allowing them to collaborate instantly about a patient's care, according to the article. A shift in culture dynamics among staff aimed at getting patients more involved in their care is also critical for success in the new model, including preventive care treatments and post-discharge follow-up conversations.

The new facility comes after the hospital posted a $227 million operating loss last year, the Hartford Business Journal reported. Lafreniere said he hopes the new outpatient center will increase the number of outpatients seen each year.

Other hospitals around the country are focusing on patient-centered care as well. Orlando Health plans to expand beyond the patient-centered medical home model to what it calls patient-centered medical neighborhoods--broader networks that would comprise affiliated specialists, ambulatory surgery centers and other providers who compare notes and coordinate care, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here are the first and second Hartford Business Journal articles