A patient and family advisory council recommended ways to maximize patient comfort at the new cancer center.
July 13, 2015 - By Sara Wykes
For 17 months, Leslie Trillo, of San Jose, has endured chemotherapy at a clinic in Campbell for the cancer that doctors found in her colon, lung and liver. When she learned that the clinic would close, with its physicians moving to the Stanford Cancer Center South Bay, she worried about whether she would feel comfortable at the new location.
“Some days you don’t feel as great as you want to be,” she said, “and when you’re feeling like that, you need a soft place to land.”
At the June 26 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center, Trillo said she wasn’t worried anymore. She’d had a look inside. “It’s beyond what I expected,” she said. “It’s really been done with patients in mind. And it’s wonderful to have it nearby.”
Today, the Stanford Cancer Center South Bay opened its doors to its first patients, including Trillo.
Established to serve patients in the populous South Bay, the center is Stanford Health Care’s first off-campus outpatient clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It occupies an existing 70,000-square-foot building, located at 2589 Samaritan Drive in San Jose, that is visible from the intersection of highways 17 and 85.
A patient and family advisory council recommended ways to maximize patient comfort at the new cancer center. “This stunning new facility has been designed with a complete focus on delivering the absolute best in cancer care and compassion to patients and families,” said Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care.
Checking in once
Patients need to check in only once, whether or not they need multiple services during their visit, and each floor is organized by function: Chemotherapy is on the fourth floor; exam rooms, procedure rooms and a branch of the Stanford Health Library are on the third; operating rooms (where same-day surgeries are performed), a pathology lab, a sterile processing unit and specialized radiology rooms are on the second floor; and medical imaging services, as well as a café, are on the first floor.
Patient support services, including those offered by social workers, nutritionists and support groups, are available on the third floor.
“At Stanford Medicine, we are leading the biomedical revolution in precision health —and the new Stanford Cancer Center South Bay represents the intersection of leading-edge technology and science with personalized, precise and compassionate care,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine.
Location, location, location
The location of the center means patients in the South Bay will have easier access to multidisciplinary teams of Stanford Medicine doctors who plan care for complex cancer cases.
“This new center represents the commitment we have to improving patient care,” Beverly Mitchell, MD, director of the Stanford Cancer Institute, said. “The new center seamlessly blends state-of-the-art technology with patient-focused design to create an environment of healing and support, and we welcome the opportunity to enhance our growing clinical research program.”
The new center’s clinicians will include many from the Stanford Cancer Center Palo Alto, and all of those from Southbay Oncology Hematology Partners, where Trillo was treated.
“As more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer, Stanford has wanted to take its expertise beyond the main campus,” said Sridhar Seshadri, PhD, vice president of Stanford Health Care’s cancer and cardiovascular services. “We saw the Southbay Oncology Hematology group as a perfect marriage: Many of these physicians are Stanford-trained, they’ve been in practice for many years and they have a strong reputation. And we wanted to learn from them as we bring our practice to the community.”
For nearly 20 years, clinical administrative assistant Tracey Laney has been one of the first people whom patients saw at the Southbay Oncology Hematology Partners clinic. She’s been fielding questions from those patients for the last several months. “One of the first things our patients have asked us about the new cancer center is, ‘Are you going to be there?’” Laney said. “We’ve developed relationships with patients — and that’s an important thing for them.”
Unusual hiring process
One of the most unusual aspects of the center is the review process for hiring its employees, said Kate Surman, the center’s administrative director. The center’s 215 employees, even those who won’t work directly with patients, were all interviewed by a patient and family advisory council member as part of their hiring process. Stanford Health Care has 11 such councils, whose more than 100 volunteers partner with administrators, clinicians, nurses and staff to improve the quality and experience of care by sharing their perspective and insights.
“We are making patients and their needs our highest priority,” Surman said, “and we are shaping the culture at this new center so that everyone, even those who are not involved in direct patient care, understands the importance of, and is recognized for their role in, patient care.”
The center aims to bridge the warmth, familiarity and convenience of a community care model with the advanced care usually found only at academic medical centers. “It’s very forward-thinking,” said Patrick Swift, MD, a clinical professor of radiation oncology and the center’s medical director. “And it will be a dramatic change for patients.”
About Stanford Medicine
Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit med.stanford.edu.