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New Cancer Institute buildings designed with patients in mind

New Cancer Institute buildings designed with patients in mind

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Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and Highmark Health are investing $200 million to help patients fight cancer close to home. This investment in our new model of cancer care helps us continue to give people better access to leading-edge, world-class medicine without leaving Pittsburgh. And treatment that is more affordable.

We’re helping patients like Kurt continue coaching and women like Shanthi take time for their kids with greater peace of mind. They are Living Proof of our commitment to providing personalized, cost-effective care that fits real people’s lives.

Fighting cancer on all fronts

People who battle cancer have many concerns about how to get the highest quality of care. At AHN, we go to great lengths to ease their minds. We work tirelessly to improve how cancer care is delivered. And that means we go as far as possible to help beat the disease.

That’s why we plan to expand our services in western Pennsylvania over the next few years. Through 2019 we will be creating:

  • An academic and research facility on the Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) campus
  • Multiple new community-based cancer treatment centers
  • An expanded relationship with Johns Hopkins Medicine

A place for new discoveries

AHN doctors are also researchers at the forefront of innovation. The new academic and research building for the AHN Cancer Institute will provide a hub for new medical discoveries and technological advancement. It will serve as a base for patients involved in our research programs throughout the health network.

The building will also house AGH’s medical and radiation oncology programs.

“Radiation Oncology will include state-of-the-art equipment upon opening,” said AHN Vice President, Strategic Facility Planning, Emil Slavik, AIA, ACHA. “Ongoing upgrades to the existing radiation oncology department mean that the newest technology can serve our cancer patients even before the academic center opens.”

The medical oncology unit will serve our patients who have acute care needs and who are involved with clinical trials. It will be designed to provide a soothing environment for patients and families.

Access to great care in your neighborhood

With the new community-based cancer centers, we expand our cancer network to add additional centers that are close to where you live. Patients don’t have to travel all the way downtown for treatment. They can spend more time at work or home, avoid the stress of commuting, and save on travel costs.

The centers will offer high-tech medical care and radiation treatments throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Architect Christopher Trotta, AIA, president of levelHEADS, is collaborating with AHN to develop building designs that focus on patients. Patients and families will benefit from:

  • Easily accessible buildings with clear signage that are simple to navigate
  • Waiting spaces that feel like living rooms
  • An efficient flow of care that addresses patients’ needs and concerns
  • Registration, consultation, and treatment spaces that make privacy a top priority
  • Naturally lit family lounges nearby with snacks, drinks, television, and internet access
  • Soothing outdoor healing gardens designed to provide positive distraction and connection with the community through natural landscapes, meandering walking paths, public art, and secluded seating enclaves

“It’s really important to have care close to home,” said Shanthi, who lives 20 minutes away from the AHN Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion. She was the main caregiver for her two young children when she began her battle with breast cancer. “We had all of the treatment, surgery, radiation, everything here. That made a huge impact on our daily lives.”

And doctors agree that patients have an easier time with treatment when care centers are conveniently located. “Delivering cancer care as close to a patient’s home as possible is very critical for the patient’s overall health and well-being,” said David Parda, MD, Chair, AHN Cancer Institute. 

Collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine

Our expanded relationship with Johns Hopkins Medicine means we have one of the most collaborative, innovative, and integrated programs in the United States working to transform cancer care. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Highmark Health, and AHN coordinate on research, controlling costs, and providing world-class care to patients.

“It’s a highly collaborative process where all experts and institutions share knowledge and best practices to accelerate advances in medicine for our patients today in real-time ways,” said Dr. Parda.

Patients with rare and complex cancers can get remote second opinions from Johns Hopkins doctors. They can also participate in clinical trials led by Johns Hopkins researchers. AHN patients get expedited and prioritized access to the trials because of the AHN and Johns Hopkins connection. The AHN and Johns Hopkins cancer programs combined conduct more than 500 active clinical trials.  

When Tom was being treated for head and neck cancer, he was able to benefit from peer-to-peer consultations between his AHN doctors and specialists at Johns Hopkins. “The collaboration was great,” he said. “They went back and forth. They compared scans. They looked at scans. To be able to have that expertise and knowing that I was getting looked after by clinical experts in both places. This is the way care should be.”

Dr. Parda believes in the importance and benefits of sharing knowledge. “Collaboration among doctors and among institutions is essential to winning the war against this formidable disease,” he said.

A new era in cancer care

By investing $200 million into a new academic and research building, new community-based centers, and unprecedented opportunities for collaboration among experts, AHN is helping to bring about a new era in cancer care for the people of western Pennsylvania.

Most importantly, it helps provide more options for people with advanced-stage cancer. “Those people at AGH gave me a chance,” said Kurt, who at first believed he wasn’t treatable. “I want people to know that if they have cancer, there’s hope. Stay positive. Don’t ever give up. That’s what it’s all about.”

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