BR Cancer Center's $25M Refurbishment Goal, Improve Patient Care

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center spent about $25 million over two years to refurbish and expand its Baton Rouge facility with a design that emphasizes patient comfort.

         To accomplish that, Todd Stevens, chief executive officer, tells The Advocate’s Ted Griggs the decor incorporates paintings and works by homegrown artists, plants, natural materials and a number of privacy nooks, where patients and family members can catch their breath and recharge their electronic devices.

         But those details aren't the point of the redesign, said Todd Stevens, chief executive officer.

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         "The physical setting is nice and beautiful. But it's intended to be a place where the physicians and the caregivers are able to collaborate and do what they do best," Stevens said.

         Patients diagnosed with cancer have an army of people — sometimes as many as seven physicians — providing their care. Along the way, patients hit almost every health care service, including inpatient services, radiology, nutritional support and the emergency room.

         "When that journey is not coordinated, it's a difficult journey for that patient, and it's one that can affect their outcomes," Stevens said.

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         Cancer-treatment programs nationwide are looking for opportunities to redesign care, said Lindsay Conway, managing director of research and insights at The Advisory Board Co., a health care and higher education consulting firm. Facilities are looking at everything from processes and procedures to the physical space and staffing models in an effort to improve the experience for patients, their family members and caregivers.

         Mary Bird and the Lake began the effort to better coordinate the patient journey in January 2009, Stevens said. Executives from both facilities sat down together, looked at the resources and treatments available and asked themselves one question: "What are we going to do in our community so we can afford these investments?"

         In 2012, Mary Bird signed an affiliation agreement with the Lake with the goal of improving survival rates and lessening the burden of cancer.

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         Patient satisfaction scores already have increased dramatically, Stevens said. The cancer center is tracking eight pages of benchmarks and eventually will be able to compare the data with cancer centers nationwide.

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