St. Luke’s Health System has a plan to make orthopedic care more efficient, both logistically and financially, and patients will start to see it come spring 2018. That’s when work will begin on a new 230,000-square-foot orthopedic service hub west of downtown Boise.
Instead of navigating three different surgery locations, and multiple clinics spread out around town, St. Luke’s is bringing them together in one central location on property it owns at the corner of 27th Street and Fairview Avenue. There, patients will find orthopedic urgent care, sports medicine and rehabilitation, physicians specialized in joints, foot and ankle, pediatrics, hand, and concussions, along with imaging and a lab. Patients will even have orthopedic surgery and recover all in the same spot.
“For several years, St. Luke’s planning teams considered the best use for the 6.5 acres of land,” said Lucy Dennis, vice president of operations for St. Luke's physician services. “Our teams thoughtfully analyzed the community’s rapidly changing population and demographics, along with the types of services patients needed most. The right fit was determined to be the combination of a short-stay inpatient facility with complementary imaging and surgical services, all focused on orthopedics.”
Using evidence-based design, architects and engineers worked to create an efficient, yet eye-catching design that will be the flagship development in west Boise. It features two wings: one for doctor visits and rehabilitation, the others will house 12 operating rooms and 30 beds for short recoveries. The combination of services is expected to generate 20,000 visits and 7,000 surgeries every year.
“Boise is growing at a rate roughly twice the national average and the people moving here are young,” said Dr. Robert Walker, division medical director for St. Luke’s orthopedics and neurosurgery. “As our community expands, so will the demand for orthopedic services. In fact, demand is already up. By 2020 alone, analysis supports a 10-percent increase.”
Those services require access to physicians and locations for surgeries, but operating rooms and recovery beds at St. Luke’s Boise hospital are full on a routine basis. Same goes for St. Luke’s Meridian.
By creating a specific location for orthopedics, Dr. Walker said the crunch will be eased.
“Consolidating elective orthopedic procedures at 27th and Fairview frees up additional OR time in Boise and Meridian for other specialties,” he said. “It also provides increased OR access for emergency cases at those locations.”
The new project will not only improve patient access to providers, but Dr. Walker said it also is designed to create a seamless integration of care from arrival to discharge, ultimately resulting in a better, more seamless experience for patients, their families and caregivers.
That facility design also works to help lower the cost of care through efficiencies gained from the specialization rather than traditional, larger generalized hospitals.
“The evolution of care is trending toward more convenient, lower-cost settings like this one will be, where patients can bundle their care, spend fewer days in the hospital and still have even better outcomes,” said Dennis.
Dennis said the co-location of specialties and services will also improve clinical efficiency for providers and result in increased clinical collaboration.
“That synergy of working alongside colleagues, who happen to be some of the best orthopedic surgeons in the nation, is powerful,” said Dennis. “Learning from one another, brainstorming over cases, and the relationships developed through the physical and intellectual connection we hope will result in innovation that’s a direct benefit to patients in the Treasure Valley, and across Idaho.”
St. Luke’s also intends to use the new space to engage the community in proactive health education opportunities and injury prevention activities. That’s where one unique element to this design comes into play. It’s an outdoor rehab area right on the corner of 27th and Fairview.
Dennis anticipates the area will be used to help athletes and non-athletes alike who are recovering from injuries and working to get back to their active lifestyles. For those who aren’t hurt, St. Luke’s Sports Medicine wants to keep it that way by working with them in the same area to avoid injury and enhance performance, all while people watch. Through a screen, people can watch activities like sprinting and running on the track, baseball and softball throwing, agility drills, basketball, jumping and landing drills, soccer rehab, including ball striking, along with group and individual exercise and programs.
“The outdoor rehab area is designed to display motion and activity. We want it to be visible from the street, the parking area, even the Connector,” said Dennis. “That movement demonstrates the positive message of health and recovery, and we hope serves as a catalyst for others to develop health lifestyles.”
Space in Boise, let alone near the downtown core, is at a premium. St. Luke’s needed a site that could handle not only the 230,000 square feet of buildings, but parking for close to 700 cars. It also had to be a location that’s easy to reach from the freeway, by public transportation, or within walking and biking distance from the quick, safe access off the greenbelt. Plus, with many patients and families coming from out-of-town, St. Luke’s also wanted a location near other community businesses like hotels and restaurants.
When built, this project will be the largest structure to-date in an area the city of Boise is actively working to redevelop. St. Luke’s also hopes it will spark complimentary nearby development and encourage more retail, housing and restaurants to activate what’s currently an under-utilized section of town.With that growth comes jobs. Beyond the construction workers that are expected to get to work in spring of 2018, this new St. Luke’s project will result in 350 permanent jobs at its opening in 2020, with at least 150 of those being brand new to Boise community.
Anita Kisseé is the Treasure Valley public relations manager for St. Luke’s Health System.