By John Wolcott HBJ Freelance Writer
SMOKEY POINT — The Everett Clinic’s ninth and newest medical facility opens Sept. 4 in Smokey Point, a $24.6 million high-tech building that will provide greatly increased access to medical care for thousands of families, along with a walk-in care clinic.
A grand opening preview was held Aug. 25, offering health screenings, tours of the building and the state-of-the-art imaging and diagnostic equipment that accounts for $6.6 million of the total cost, and introductions to the 28 physicians and medical staff who will work in the 60,000-square-foot clinic.
Designed to be a major regional medical hub, the clinic offers medical care specialties including primary care, gynecology, orthopedics, cardiology, pediatrics, advanced imaging, laboratory services and more.
The clinic building is clearly visible at the northwest corner of I-5 and 172nd Street NE at the Lakewood Crossing Shopping Center. The four-acre site holds more medical services and specialties than any other clinic besides The Everett Clinic’s main site in Everett, including sports medicine, optometry and retail optical services, family medicine, neurology, allergy care, dermatology, gynecology and advanced MRI, CT, ultrasound, mammography and radiology imaging.
“Outside of the Vancouver, Wash., area, statistics show us this is the fastest growing area of the state, so we wanted to be here for our present and future patients,” said the facility’s director, Colleen Clark. “Throughout the design process we listened to what more than two dozen people who spent time with us told us they wanted included or changed in the facility. So we were able to make many changes before the clinic was even completed.”
Dr. Robert Klem, who has been medical director at The Everett Clinic’s Lake Stevens facility for the past four years, also worked several years with Clark, who was most recently facility manager at Lake Stevens. They said their shared experiences and teamwork helped immensely in planning the Smokey Point clinic.
“Based on patients’ input, the whole design process over the last 18 months has allowed us to create a flow of traffic in the center that moves patients more quickly from check-in to their exam room, where they see their doctor, schedule lab services or get diagnostic scans, which saves a lot of time and a lot of moving around for the patient,” Klem said. “Our patients have really improved our design and flow, which improves service. We changed the design based on their feedback.”
Clark said the facility was a design-build project, a first for an Everett Clinic facility, “so we were able to construct a cardboard model of the building, too, and make changes as we went through the design stage.”
Klem said that philosophy gave patients “a very strong voice in our design, so we could change walls, plumbing and electrical circuits before we actually completed the construction, which gave us a much improved facility.”
Culturally, the new facility is a big change for the staff, too, he said, because doctors’ offices have disappeared and they share space with nurses and medical assistants. Everyone is urged to offer ideas and opinions.
“We implemented about 80 percent of their ideas,” Klem said.
Clark said The Everett Clinic has been ranked in the top 100 Best Places to Work nationally by Fortune magazine in 2011 and 2012 and noted that more inclusiveness among employees at all levels helps create satisfaction in the workplace.
“The space and workflow is organized so that staff and physicians can quickly see at a glance what’s happening, such as where the patients are in the process, if staff is on time in providing services and what tests may be needed,” Clark said.
A physical office for physicians is an inefficient use of space, she said, so emphasis is on the patient and coming together to serve them in one space rather than moving the patient around. Although there are waiting areas, they’re much smaller than usual, since patients are moved around less during their visit and are quickly taken to their exam rooms.
“From the viewpoint of the medical providers and staff, we expect it will improve their work satisfaction, too,” Klem said. “Historically, that sort of working and planning together has given us one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the medical community.”
Check it out
For more information, go to www.everettclinic.com/smokey point or call 360-454-1900.