TERRE HAUTE —
As the new UAP Clinic Medical Office Building opens its doors today for patients, the sleek interior and state-of-the-art technology will greet the public like a five-star hotel.
Aside from quality medical care, the public will find comfortable waiting areas, privacy and a facility that is easily accessible to people with mobility challenges.
On a move-in day last week, amid the bustle of arriving equipment and office set-up, Dr. Krishna Namburi proudly led a tour of the cardiology department on the fourth floor of the new medical office building, located just southwest of Union Hospital.
“It is important to be this close to the hospital,” Namburi said. “Both for inpatients and outpatients and doctors. In this case, I can run over to the hospital quickly. Such close proximity is very important.”
He jokingly referred to his corner office, with its sweeping view of the Union Hospital campus, as the “penthouse” of the building. But his office is situated in the midst of his work, surrounded by exam rooms and close to the other UAP cardiologists.
He pointed to building details included as improvements for both the medical staff and the patients. For instance, outside the door of each exam room is a set of multi-colored flags that can be extended to indicate what service needs to happen for the patient waiting inside. The flags on each floor of the building are all color-coded to mean the same thing, which was not the case in the former clinic location, leading to occasional confusion for the staff.
“The flags were made uniform so everyone knows what each color means,” Namburi said, explaining that change was requested by the staff. “Small things like that mean so much.”
Inside the exam room, a computer on wheels — or COW — can be moved so that the nurse or physician entering information into the electronic medical record system can make eye contact with patients while using the COW.
“The patients told us that the nurses and doctors are just charting on computers. They’re not paying attention to us,” Namburi said of the reason to make the computers mobile.
He also pointed out the layout of the waiting areas, where half-walls and tinted glass group the seating into smaller clusters.
“It’s also important for patients to feel safe and secure, so we have waiting areas in cubicles. There is some privacy, not seeing everyone else who is waiting,” he said.
Namburi praised the UAP board and the leadership of the Union Hospital health system with constructing a technologically advanced building.
“It takes an immense amount of courage, leadership and foresight to take care of such a monumental building project,” the cardiologist said. “Especially in the future of health care, we don’t know what’s going to happen next week. We were very fortunate to have this leadership, and that was the key.”
Another amenity inside the new building is intended to reduce a potentially stressful experience for patients and their families.
UAP Clinic partnered with local artist Becky Hochhalter to integrate custom, interactive art pieces into the facility’s decor. The artwork features photographs by Hochhalter showcasing the diversity of landscape found in Indiana and Illinois.
She traveled to state, local and national parks in the bistate area to capture the images, which have been printed on aluminum panels and suspended over brushed, bronzed metal backdrops on the walls. Each art piece is accompanied by a descriptive plaque containing codes that allow visitors to use their smartphones to access information about each park.
As the tour of the building continued, visitors were shown the new Roly Poly cafe, which has entrances from both the front parking lot and the building interior. The pharmacy — with a drive-through window — is located near the cafe. The laboratory, radiology, pulmonary/critical care and urology departments are also located on the first floor.
The second floor houses the cosmetic laser center, gynecology and obstetrics, and endocrinology.
The third floor houses allergy, asthma and immunology; audiology with a new sound booth; ear, nose, throat and allergy; gastroenterology, and general surgery.
The fourth floor houses cardiology, cardiovascular testing and internal medicine.
The lower level features a large conference room for training and education, with projectors in the ceiling, as well as a staff break area and building support services.
Pam Smith, director of clinic operation, said the staff had a busy week moving and setting up equipment, as well as organizing and preparing for today’s opening and Saturday’s open house.
UAP CEO Pat Board said the new medical office building spent a long-time in the dreaming and planning stage, and it will mean an improvement in care for patients.
“The original building opened in 1959,” Board said of the Associated Physicians and Surgeons clinic in downtown Terre Haute. “It had few handicapped accessible doors, a lot of privacy issues, and it wasn’t designed for the electronic world. This building is designed with modern medicine in mind.”
The new building will also hopefully attract new doctors to Terre Haute, he said. With a nationwide shortage of doctors, attracting physicians to a community can hinge on whether the facilities and equipment are modern.
While the new clinic features medical specialties and services, UAP Clinic will maintain other locations around the city.
The downtown clinic at 221 S. Sixth St. will continue to offer family medicine and pediatrics.
The northside clinic at 1739 N. Fourth St. offers family medicine, neurology and the sleep center.
The southside clinic at 4601 S. Seventh St. offers family medicine.
The bone and joint center at 1725 N. Fifth St. offers orthopedics, sports medicine, hand surgery, podiatry and rheumatology.
The dermatology and eye center at 422 Poplar St. offers dermatology, eye center and optical shop.
The oncology and hematology clinic is located in the Hux Cancer Center at 1711 N. Sixth and Half Street.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Trib