Special to UM News
In many ways, UHealth Coral Gables in The Lennar Foundation Medical Center is a model for patient care in the future. Along with the latest diagnostic and treatment technology, the new center has been carefully designed to meet the needs of patients, their families, and staff.
“We looked outside the health care industry and incorporated amenities and services found in the upscale hospitality sector,” said Ben Riestra, chief administrative officer. “That includes offering concierge-like services to patients and family members throughout their visits.”
For example, valet parking will be available at both entrances, on Dickinson Drive and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, along with convenient free self-parking at the adjacent Ponce Garage. Staffers will be on hand to direct patients to the right service locations. There also will be a way-finding app that can easily be downloaded to mobile devices. “Our mobile app Gozio Health for Apple and Android operating systems will route you to the facility and then walk you through the parking garage to the appropriate registration area,” Riestra said.
Upon arrival at the registration area, patients will find a variety of seating options offering the feel of a “hotel-like living room.” Every detail of the building’s interior design has been meticulously evaluated to move away from the “stale hospital feel and odor” experienced in other settings. “In our goal to differentiate UHealth Coral Gables and reduce environmentally induced anxiety and stress, we strategically applied this forward-thinking approach from color scheme to artwork down to the placement of key furniture,” Riestra said. “It is our hope to yield a more relaxed ambiance for our patients, families, and their caregivers.”
Waiting times will be minimized by patient scheduling strategies designed to make sure test results, insurance approvals, and other documentation are done in advance of the actual visit.
Once patients are ready for treatment, they will be given hospital “robes” designed to provide greater dignity than the traditional tie-string gowns. “Our health system clinicians provided input into the design of our robes,” added Riestra. “For instance, key design elements have been taken into consideration so our oncology patients will receive more dignified care while going through their infusion therapy.”
Like a modern full-service hotel, the new Gables center will have large windows and skylights to let in plenty of sunlight. “We will even have aromatherapy to contribute to a ‘spa-like’ ambiance,” said Riestra, noting that there also will be an open-air healing garden on the roof of the building.
Music will be playing throughout the center, and students from the UM Frost School of Music will perform near the arrival area several times a week. “We are building bridges with other colleges and schools of the University as well,” Riestra said.
The ground-floor cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with both indoor and outdoor seating. That’s an important benefit for friends and family members waiting for a patient to be diagnosed, treated, or discharged after surgery. Even better, the menu will include a wide variety of healthy options, such as fresh salads, smoothies, coffee, and juices.
For additional convenience, a retail pharmacy will be located on the ground floor, so patients can go home with their medications rather than having to make another stop to drop off a prescription and wait for it to be filled.
Patient education events will be scheduled at the center to help advance preventive care in the community. UHealth experts from many specialties will offer advice for staying healthy and information about the latest developments in their fields.
As Riestra said, “Our UHealth center sets a new standard for patient experience and service excellence.”
UHealth Coral Gables in The Lennar Foundation Medical Center is a five-story, 206,000-square-foot diagnostic and treatment center located at Ponce de Leon and Dickinson just south of the BankUnited Center. In addition to outpatient surgery services, the new center will be home to Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, UHealth Sports and Performance Institute, and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute satellite locations, as well as medical offices, a healthy cafe, free parking and a host of patient- and family-friendly amenities. While the facility can provide care and 23-hour observation as needed, it will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday for patients and families.