By Amy Watkins HBJ Freelance Writer
MONROE — Providence Medical Building Monroe is almost ready for patient visits.
The new $22 million facility is scheduled to open on Oct. 7 and will include a larger urgent-care center with expanded hours, an advanced imaging center, a high-tech lab and a retail pharmacy.
Providence for about 30 years has served patients in Monroe but the clinic building at 14692 179th Ave. SE is old and undersized, said Preston Simmons, chief executive officer of Providence Health and Services Northwest Washington Region.
“We’d outgrown that facility and it was time to invest in a state-of-the-art facility,” he said. “(Providence Medical Building Monroe) is really built with the patient in mind. Everything is oriented with patient experience.”
The 43,000-square-foot, two-story building is almost twice as big as the existing Providence Medical Group Monroe Clinic. It has space for more than 30 medical providers in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics and specialty care. The medical building will feature new technology, called Versus, that uses computerized, wearable tags for patients. With this technology, patients receive reduced wait times and caregivers have the ability to locate patients, staff and equipment more efficiently. The system tracks patients throughout every stage of their visit. Caregivers receive automatic notifications of room status, order status and which patients are ready to be seen.
“It will have the latest and greatest right here,” Simmons said. “We’re really proud of this facility. A lot of work and effort has been put in to make it the ambulatory care center of the future.”
Providence Medical Building Monroe at 19200 N. Kelsey St. also features high-powered imaging equipment including MRI, ultrasound, mammography, X-ray and CT, and non-invasive diagnostic testing such as echocardiography and echo stress testing. The new building is quite different from a typical medical building, said Tom Yetman, chief executive officer of Providence Medical Group.
“We used to build clinics with small pods of exam rooms that belonged to doctors and it reflected the model of care that was around at the time,” he said. “Thirty years ago when I was a physician, my room was not used on my day off. That kind of waste and that kind of inefficiency is just not affordable anymore.”
In the new facility, rooms won’t be owned by any one clinician and the building’s design matches the flow of today’s medical practice and medicine, Yetman said. The building houses 48 exam rooms that are nearly identical from how they look to how they will be stocked and staffed. Work stations are open and designed so physicians, nurses and other clinicians can work right next to one another.
Specialty care options at Providence Medical Monroe will include allergy, anticoagulation clinic, audiology, cardiology, diabetic education, ear-nose-throat, endocrinology, general surgery, neurosurgery and OB/GYN and midwifery providers. Future specialties may also include orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and sleep health.
The Providence Medical Group Monroe Clinic experienced 67,000 annual patient encounters and was not designed to efficiently accommodate those visits, said Patt Richesin, project manager for Providence Medical Building Monroe. Additional services in the new building allow for patients to receive timely care. For example, a woman can schedule an appointment to see her provider for a medical exam and also have a mammogram in the same day, Richesin said.
“We’ve added services that make it really convenient for a patient to complete their encounter,” she said. “As a patient I’ve got more people on my team than just the doctor I normally see. I actually have a care team. I think it’s very transformational.”
Deb Nalty, medical director for Providence Medical Group, has worked in the Monroe clinic building for the past 22 years. She is looking forward to the opening of the new building.
“I’m most excited to sit in the same building as the specialists we work with because that’s how patients get better care,” she said. “It’s that collaboration that is going to be the best thing about the new building.”
Although ground was originally broken for the new building in November, excitement has been felt throughout the city during its construction, Nalty added.
“It’s a big, huge deal,” she said. “We don’t get new things very often so I think we have a lot of excited people.”
The building is another symbol of Providence’s commitment to the communities of eastern Snohomish County, Yetman said.
“It brings the best care we can close to them so it’s more convenient,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of work to design this building so we can deliver great care. I’m anticipating this is going to be a great experience for our patients and staff.”