A sneak peek
A sci-fi hospital: New Smith Clinic takes medicine into the future with doctordesign input
The 167,800 square foot, state-of-the-art outpatient facility was named in honor of Lester and Sue Smith, and takes the reigns from the specialty clinics in Ben Taub General Hospital.
Physicians from Baylor College of Medicine will work alongside Harris Health staff in treating patients in 19 specialty areas, offering a number of services for allergy, breast pathology and oncology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, genetics, gynecology, hematology, infectious disease, infusion center, neurology, oncology, PICC line clinic, pulmonary, radiation diagnostics, tropical medicine and urology oncology.
Outfitted with CT scanners, linear accelerators, PET/CT scanners, MRI units behind tinted glass, thick walls and heavy doors, the center looks like the set of a sci-fi movie.
During a sneak peek tour of the facility, it was clear that the clinic's designers had the patient in mind, with the public waiting areas and private treatment rooms dressed for maximum comfort and best results. Most rooms have access to natural light; those that cannot have faux skylights to simulate it.
Plus, with more square footage and top-of-the-line equipment for diagnosis and treatment, more patients will have ready access to treatment at Smith Clinic.
The J. Evans & Mary P. Attwell Radiation Therapy Center on the first floor features three times the physical capacity of its previous Ben Taub equivalent, plus six times the treatment capacity and a shorter treatment time for each patient.
Outfitted with CT scanners, linear accelerators, PET/CT scanners, MRI units behind tinted glass, thick walls and heavy doors, the center looks like the set of a sci-fi movie. The technology is the newest of its kind, and where many of the tests had to be conducted elsewhere in the past (outsourced ultrasounds alone totaled at least 1,000 per month), having the equipment in-house ensures a speedier diagnosis and a better continuum of care for the patients.
The second level houses the endocrinology and neurology units, and the third is home to more than a dozen specialties and 49 exam rooms. On Level 4 is the Smith Oncology Clinic and the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, equipped with technology unprecedented in the county health system.
Among the diagnostic tools in the breast oncology center are six digital mammography units — three with tomosynthesis capabilities — making for the most technologically advanced breast center in Texas. The center expects to see at least 55,000 mammography patients in the next year.
Other technology includes ultrasound visualizers with crystal-clear screens, biopsy rooms and an MRI machine that uploads images directly to the Harris Health servers, so verified doctors can immediately access patient records from any computer.
The fifth (and top) floor of the building is home to the Infusion Therapy Center, a bright space for hematology and oncology patients to receive blood products and chemotherapy treatment.
"We are ecstatic about this," said Dr. Martha Mims, chief of hematology and oncology at Baylor College of Medicine, who explained that doctors and nurses had an input on the design process.
Though yet unfinished, the clinic has already begun to see patients for radiology diagnostics. The rest of the services will begin on Oct. 1.