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New Shands Hospital, a 'Healing Environment'

Shands Cancer Hospital
Shands Cancer Hospital has 12 high-tech operating rooms.
Walking through the University of Florida’s new Shands Cancer Hospital feels a bit like perusing a Florida art gallery. Natural light from huge windows fills patient rooms, waiting areas and hallways. In patient rooms, the floors are wooden; the walls display oversized photos and paintings of natural Florida; and the windows look out at panoramic views of Gainesville’s thick tree canopy, with Paynes Prairie stretching in the distance.

As clinicians focus on patients’ medical and physical condition, the building “creates a healing environment that helps us support their emotional well-being,” says Timothy Goldfarb, CEO of Shands HealthCare. “This is the hospital of tomorrow.”
The hospital relied on “intuitive design.” A Shands team constructed a prototype at a local warehouse, where nurses, doctors and other staffers “worked” and made changes to every detail of patient rooms and clinical settings until they hit upon an optimal design.

“There’s a lot of technology behind the scenes,” says Dr. John Wingard, director of UF’s bone marrow transplant program. The $388-million building has 12 high-tech operating rooms, a bone-marrow transplant unit, a stem-cell lab and a full-spectrum radiology department. A $2.5-million CT scanner called the Aqulion One can detect stroke and heart disease in minutes, replacing dozens of other tests that used to take hours or days.

Shands Hospital room
The hospital “creates a healing environment,” says CEO Timothy Goldfarb.
The new hospital opened in November just as Shands shuttered Alachua General, the longtime community hospital on Gainesville’s east side that was losing $12 million a year. Shands Cancer Hospital represents “a new beginning for healthcare at UF and Shands” that focuses on transferring research breakthroughs more quickly from laboratories and academic journals to patients, says Dr. David Guzick, UF’s senior vice president for health affairs.

The 500,000-sq.-ft., 192-room hospital is a fraction of what UF officials envision as a “south campus” in Gainesville devoted to research and patient care. The hospital takes up five acres on a 27-acre site south of the main campus, where officials eventually plan 1,200 beds in buildings that cluster medical specialties.