Sneak peek inside new Parkview Cancer Institute

The Parkview Cancer Institute will open June 5, 2018.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  The numbers themselves are impressive. Parkview has spent $100 million dollars to build a five story, 200,000 square foot facility that will focus only on cancer. What makes the building so unique, though, is the concept they’ve designed.

“We want people to understand how innovative this building is,” said President of the Parkview Cancer Institute Dr. Neil Sharma. “This building really revolves around providing the best, latest, cutting edge cancer care for our patients and their families. In order to do that, we really had to think outside of the box.”

He and others like VP of Operations Rae Gonterman visited other centers around the country and combined the best features into one place. They also listened to what patients had to say.

“We created the indoor garden based on their feedback. They wanted to see life. Trees, greenery. And have a place where they could go and kinda relax,” said Gonterman.

The indoor garden and rooftop patio are just two features that help turn a sterile medical environment into a welcoming home for healing. There’s a survivorship area where patients and families can go to share their stories.

“When you walk in the front door here, if you go to the left, that’s where our survivorship area is. The reason for that is they wanted a survivorship clinic, but they didn’t want to walk into the building and go through where they did every day while they were on treatment. They would kinda get that gut feeling. That was not something they wanted to do, so we created kind of a separate entrance.”

The facility features the latest technology, like a high-powered MRI machine and new CT scanners, to help specialists diagnose and treat a variety of cancers. But the institute is more than just about fancy equipment.

It’s about relationships.

“From the moment they walk in the door, there will be a concierge here that will greet them, get to know them by name, welcome them, help them find their way,” explained Gonterman.

“Our goal is to simplify that journey for the patient,” added Dr. Sharma. “And so the entire building is designed with them in mind. So that means when they have a potential new cancer diagnosis, whether it’s cancer or not, we want that journey to be as seamless as possible for them. And that means that every provider who touches them, from the person who receives them at the front desk to the final physician who may tell them they may or may not have cancer, should be involved in that process together, collaboratively.”

It’s also about convenience. They’ve created pods that allow the patient to stay in one location, while doctors come to them.

“Our care team is what’s novel about this. It’s the multi-disciplinary care team that works together in a pod so that patient is seen by more than one physician and it’s right there, they don’t have to move. So not only can they stay in one location to be seen my multiple physicians for their specialty, but when they come in the building, we have lab here, we have imaging here, their treatments are here – infusion, radiation, mammography – we have that for our cancer patients here in the building. So they truly can get the majority of their care right here,” Dr. Sharma said.

Dr. Sharma also said there’s an abundance of teamwork that will take place at the institute.

“I think one of the unique aspects about this building is we were able to design it from the ground up, and that allows us to incorporate a lot of new innovations which are integral to our cancer care model. And so that involves a variety of new techonologies such as a room outfitted specifically for Tumor Board, which is where we discuss an individual patient’s case and it allows multiple physicians to either wirelessly come in or Skype face-to-face with other physicians, so your case can be discussed and they’ll have everyone in the room together working top come out with a comprehensive plan for that patient,” said Dr. Sharma.

Officials stress that the institute will provide everything a patient needs – from beginning to end.

“We have navigators who will navigate the patient through the process and we can help them with things. We have financial counselors, we have social workers,” Gonterman said. “A lot happens when you’re going through a cancer journey and we want to be able to support not just the patient, but their family members and in some cases those very close friends. We want to be available for that. That will all be right here as a part of their care. So I think our navigation program is definitely one of the hallmarks of what we offer that you don’t find everywhere.”

“We think this will truly be a destination site for cancer care,” Dr. Sharma emphasized.