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Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion

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Special Report

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Los Angeles is growing and so are the community healthcare needs. The Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion is the realization of Cedars-Sinai’s vision for 21st century healthcare. Photo by Deborah Attoinese

We expect a lot from medicine: bold discoveries, new treatments—and reassurance. A complex mixture of elements is required for a contemporary medical center to deliver on those promises. Futuristic equipment must perform perfectly in the hands of highly trained professionals. But putting renowned medical experts in a brand-new building with state-of-the-art equipment is not enough to guarantee paradigm-shifting results. The environment inside that building must also be conducive to healing and innovation. So when Cedars-Sinai set out to create a facility for the modern age, it posed some tough questions:

The Corday Bridge on the Plaza Level stretches from the Pavilion to the main hospital.

How can an exam room deliver a feeling of comfort? How can a lab bench encourage collaboration? And how can a staff lounge be a catalyst for invention? The Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion answered those questions with spacious exam rooms, modular labs, and inviting lounges astutely designed to bring out the best in caregivers, scientists, and patients. Take our guided tour of the Pavilion, where research meets treatment and imagination meets collaboration.

The ORs in the Sue and Bill Gross Surgery and Procedure Center are an ample 650-800 square feet.

A Vast Space for Fine Work

The Sue and Bill Gross Surgery and Procedure Center is leveraging 55,000 square feet to meet an urgent need for space. “The old orthopedic operating rooms were so small that to get large equipment from the other side of the room during surgery, you had to go out one door and come back through another,” says Bryan Croft, vice president of Service Line Operations. “The new procedure rooms are remarkably bigger.”

Eight rooms for general procedures—primarily dedicated to orthopedics—are set up for an innovative approach to total hip and total knee replacements. Operators can use a three-dimensional image guidance system that enables them to make a small, targeted incision that takes much less time to heal than a large one. “We used to have to wheel in technology when we needed it—now it’s all in one place,” says Robert Klapper, MD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Joint Replacement Program, who conducted the new space’s inaugural surgery.

Two interventional radiology rooms and two cardiac catheterization labs share the fifth floor and incorporate ultramodern imaging technology. Waiting areas and recovery spaces are family friendly and invite more private discussions.

Croft proudly sums up the space: “We have enhanced every phase of the patient visit, from check-in to recovery.”

State-of-the-art equipment in the surgery and procedure rooms results in brief and comfortable recovery time for patients.

Brave New Bedfellows

The spark of inspiration cannot be forced, but it can be coaxed, and that is what Cedars-Sinai is doing with the Pavilion’s Translational Research Complex. “Discoveries come from strange bedfellows,” muses Mark Daniel, vice president of Research Administration.

Shared lobbies and lounge areas are venues for floor-wide mixers and spontaneous meetings of the mind.

Translational medicine is the paradigm by which basic science can inform and improve patient care—and revelations within the clinic can flow back to inspire new research questions in the laboratory. “Getting MDs and PhDs talking to each other is rapidly becoming an industry trend,” says Daniel. With tranquil sitting areas around stairwells and a grand but inviting lounge—complete with a coffee bar, television screens, and plenty of outlets so laptops can be plugged in for impromptu meetings—the Pavilion’s common areas have been cleverly crafted to encourage serendipitous collaboration.

“The proximity of clinics to shared lab spaces also creates synergies across the disciplines,” says Daniel. Clinics for the neurosciences and heart are on lower floors with corresponding research laboratories situated a few stories above. The cardiac and brain teams also each work with the Regenerative Medicine Institute, which shares the eighth floor with the neurosciences team.

“Lines are becoming blurred between science and healthcare delivery,” says Daniel. That means the ultimate beneficiaries of this bold mixed-use building are the patients.

A New Benchmark

The Regenerative Medicine Institute on the eighth floor of the Pavilion is the essence of modernity. Its engine for innovation is the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core Facility—a central source of baseline stem cells that can be applied to any disease or body system. “Conceptually speaking, the laboratories are in a spherical system around this essential resource,” says Brandon Shelley, the research associate who runs the laboratory of Institute Director Clive Svendsen, PhD.

Laboratory spaces are modular and can easily be reconfigured based on research needs. Benches can be moved by simply unplugging the utilities from the ceiling.

The labs are cheerily bathed in natural light, and, Shelley notes, “You have a view of the Hollywood sign from your bench!” Contributing to a convivial feeling, the labs were constructed with a modern, no-walls approach. “Though these scientists are studying different diseases, there can be cross-pollinating of techniques in this open format,” says Program Manager Jackie McHugh.

Throughout the space are open-source areas where high-level equipment is shared. “Not everyone needs the most expensive microscope,” says McHugh. Funds saved by sharing resources can be put to good use and further stem cell science.

Although patients will not be visiting the Regenerative Medicine Institute labs, McHugh says, “Their presence in this building is the inspiration for highly sophisticated medical research that’s happening just a few floors above the clinics.”

The Heart of Heart Care

“Tailoring the space to our patients’ needs was paramount,” says Mahmoud Samie, director of Service Line Operations, talking about the Advanced Heart Disease Center clinic on the sixth floor of the Pavilion. “Our patients might bring oxygen tanks or equipment for ventricular assist devices, and most have a family member with them,” he explains. The design of the clinic accommodates this by providing an ample lobby and spacious exam rooms that are equipped with large-screen televisions for viewing results from imaging tests.

The Advanced Heart Disease Center Clinic is implementing a cutting-edge test for heart transplant rejection that requires a simple blood draw instead of an invasive and stressful biopsy of the heart. The proximity of the clinic and the labs in the Pavilion makes the new testing even easier for patients.

On a single visit, a patient might need an echocardiogram, a cardiac catheterization procedure, as well as a biopsy to check for signs of rejection of a transplanted heart. With the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory nearby on the fifth floor, all these services are now centralized in the Pavilion. “The old way was to use a private shuttle to transport patients from building to building,” says Samie. “Now physicians and coordinators migrate to the patients instead.”

A first of its kind in California, the Center takes a multidisciplinary team approach to specialized care for congestive heart failure and heart transplant patients. Practitioners are committed to intensive heart-health education, combined with real-time monitoring of patients. “With this new space,” adds Samie, “we can grow to accommodate more patients in an environment that they really appreciate.”

Fake It to Make It Safe

“This is not a ‘pretend’ environment,” says Russell Metcalfe-Smith, manager of the Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills. “This is a real hospital.” It just so happens that the patients on the ground floor of the Pavilion are robotic mannequins that can blink, bleed, talk, hyperventilate, and give birth. These simulated humans give everyone from medical students to nurses and senior faculty—in fact, the entire hospital workforce— the chance to confront unfamiliar situations in a controlled environment. “If you’re looking to reduce error, this is an amazing atmosphere in which to train to achieve that goal,” says Metcalfe-Smith. The operating and patient rooms are sleek and white, outfitted with sophisticated equipment that whirs and pings exactly as it does throughout the Medical Center. Learners are thrust into adrenaline-fueled scenarios in which they might need to resuscitate a “patient” or execute unfamiliar procedures. A team’s ability to problem-solve without breaking down is often tested.

The traditional medical training paradigm of “see one, do one, teach one” is being replaced with “practice, practice, practice.”

Debriefing is as crucial to the operation as drills are. Eighty percent of serious medical errors take place because of poor teamwork and lack of communication. Camera and microphone feeds from the simulated hospital space are piped into three conference rooms. “The high-tech dolls and equipment are just the dressing,” says Metcalfe-Smith. “We encourage people to talk. If you can crack that communication element, you can positively impact patient care.”

Sporting Our Spiritual Heritage

Reflecting Cedars-Sinai’s Jewish legacy, the Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion’s first three levels are paneled in stone that was quarried and finished just outside of Jerusalem. The desert-bone-colored limestone was obtained from a small family-owned business in Israel.

The lobby is the gateway to outpatient services, education and conference centers, the pharmacy, and a café.

The manifestation of Jewish values continues inside the Pavilion. Every doorframe sports a mezuzah, a small decorative case that contains handwritten parchment scrolls with verses from the Book of Deuteronomy. Like all the mezuzot at Cedars-Sinai, they are custom-made in Israel and donated by philanthropists Sharon and Herb Glaser.

From the durability of the Jerusalem stone to the authenticity of the mezuzot, the Pavilion represents the best of the Medical Center’s spiritual heritage.

More Pavilion Photos

  • Employees and patients cross the Corday Bridge from the Pavilion to the main hospital.

  • The Sue and Bill Gross Surgery and Procedure Center features eight general surgical rooms.

  • The Sue and Bill Gross Skywalk connects the main hospital to the Pavilion.

  • Synergy is created across disciplines with shared lab spaces and clinics in the Pavilion’s Translational Research Complex.

  • The Pavilion is home to the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.

  • The Paul Marciano Foundation Lobby features an otherworldly digital jellyfish display, to be enjoyed by visitors to the neurosciences clinics.

  • The Regenerative Medicine Institute is designed with large windows to allow plenty of natural light.

  • Laboratory spaces are modular and can easily be reconfigured based on research needs. Benches can be moved by simply unplugging the utilities from the ceiling.

  • The design of the Advanced Heart Disease Center Clinic accommodates patients who may have oxygen tanks or ventricular assist devices.

  • The Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills promotes team work, improving communication and patient safety.

  • The Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills replicates the reality of professionals working together with the latest technologies.

  • The George W. Schaeffer Lobby characterizes the Pavilion’s spirit, from the Jerusalem stone that was quarried and cut in Israel to its sophisticated, welcoming design.

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