With the opening of a unique outpatient care center in New Albany, Ohio, and more similar comprehensive care centers underway throughout central Ohio, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is looking to change the future of outpatient care for all.
New model extends academic health care to more communities
Ohio State’s new outpatient care expansion makes excellent health care convenient, accessible, affordable
AF: When health systems design facility expansions, profitability is often top of mind. But when we began to strategize new facilities, we shifted attention to a new care delivery method that was population health-focused and gave central Ohioans new opportunities to reach their best health possible — conveniently and affordably. These non-traditional approaches aim to improve health in a community and beyond, through health policy, research, health education and outreach, and with an emphasis on prevention.
As an academic health center at the nation’s third-largest university, one of Ohio State’s best resources is our vast network of multidisciplinary researchers and care providers. We interviewed these experts, especially in primary care, to understand what they and their patients need to reach optimal health. They helped us understand common barriers to care and the most-needed specialties for managing the most common chronic conditions, as well as typical urgent and emergency health needs. They even influenced the physical layout, grouping specialists in ways that make sense for most patients based on common referrals. Their answers formed the cornerstones of our just-opened Outpatient Care New Albany center and several Ohio State Wexner Medical Center suburban sites coming soon.
AF: In August in New Albany, Ohio, we opened our new 250,000-square-foot facility that makes nearly every type of medical care available in one location, including primary care, specialty care, outpatient surgeries and our new Advanced Immediate Care model. Several, similar facilities are underway throughout central Ohio, including our care center in Dublin, Ohio (set to open in 2022), and a cancer-focused facility on Ohio State’s West Campus scheduled to open its doors in 2023.
AF: While other health systems built freestanding emergency departments that are expensive for patients, we focused on lowering costs and expanding local access to outpatient surgeries. It’s hospital-like in that we can observe and treat patients overnight to avoid hospitalization, and we have access to a wide spectrum of specialties. It’s comprehensive care in one facility, allowing patients to stay closer to home.
With models like Advanced Immediate Care, patients can quickly see providers with advanced training in emergency medicine, without emergency room prices or wait times. And, as an academic health center, our patients have access to clinical trials and treatments developed through that research, just as elsewhere in our system.
AF: Managing patients almost completely in one location is convenient for providers, too — they can send for lab work, imaging, therapy, preventive care or specialty care in the same building. As part of Ohio State’s integrated system for sharing medical information, patient care is more seamless and collaborative. These are wins for both patient and provider.
Because their work is centered in one comprehensive facility, clinicians here also gain the benefits found at smaller, community hospitals, even though the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is one of the country’s largest academic medical centers. Everyone here knows everyone else, whether they’re medical staff or in patient scheduling, environmental services or other non-clinical areas.
AF: We aim to be a model of academic health care for the 21st century, and this is one step to meeting our goals in our community — giving patients the high-quality, individualized care that we’re known for, right in their backyards.
My hope is that Outpatient Care New Albany is the first of many changes to the health care landscape not just in our community, but nationwide. Today, these types of facilities aren’t common. But as we see their benefits, I believe patients will grow to expect these connected, comprehensive, convenient services, much as they now expect telehealth options for appointments.
To learn more visit: wexnermedical.osu.edu