UC San Diego Health System: 2016 and Beyond
[ONE IN AN OCCASIONAL SERIES OF ARTICLES FROM SAN DIEGO COUNTY'S HEALTH SYSTEM LEADERS — SDCMS]
UC San Diego Health System will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. This will be an important milestone for our now far-reaching academic health system, which started with the purchase of San Diego’s county hospital in Hillcrest in 1966.
The year 2016 will also mark important milestones in UC San Diego Health System’s physical growth and our ability to provide access to patients in our region and beyond. Two new buildings are slated to open that year: UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute building. Together, these two facilities will allow us to increase the volume of our clinical care and accelerate the delivery of research discoveries to our patients.
UC San Diego Health System has grown exponentially since 1966. Our second hospital, UC San Diego Thornton Hospital in La Jolla, was built in 1993. We opened a number of specialized facilities, such as UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, which was founded in 1978 and moved to its present location in 2005. Our Health System developed a network of affiliated physicians through UC San Diego Medical Group, comprising clinics and centers both within and outside of San Diego County.
Our most accelerated growth has taken place during the last five years. In 2011 alone, we opened UC San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and acquired both the San Diego Cancer Center and the Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas. We recently opened new clinics in North County, adding to existing locations in the Inland Empire and South Bay.
Jacobs Medical Center
UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center will be the cornerstone of our growth in the next five years. Named for Joan and Irvin Jacobs, this 10-story, 509,500-square-foot building will encompass three new hospitals — the Hospital for Advanced Surgery, Hospital for Cancer Care, and Hospital for Women and Infants — and will adjoin the existing Thornton Hospital and Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center in La Jolla.
With 245 additional beds, Jacobs Medical Center will allow UC San Diego Health System to meet the needs of the region’s growing and aging population. For instance, we now have the largest inpatient cancer program in San Diego County. Moores Cancer Center currently offers comprehensive services for outpatient cancer patients but does not have inpatient beds for cancer patients. Our new Hospital for Cancer Care will provide 24 medical and surgical beds and 12 intensive care unit beds, as well as an entire floor dedicated to blood and bone marrow transplant patients.
UC San Diego Health System performs some of the most advanced surgical procedures in the world. The new Hospital for Advanced Surgery, which will have 10 operating rooms and four additional ORs within a fully inclusive intra-operative suite, will utilize the latest technology. This hospital will allow our surgeons to put into practice new techniques developed at the Center for the Future of Surgery, the largest surgical training site in the United States. [See “Training Physicians for the 21st Century” in the March 2012 issue of San Diego Physician.]
We offer more birth options than anywhere else in San Diego. However, our regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, while a Level III, has only a limited number of private rooms. Today, best practice is to provide all private NICU rooms to prevent the spread of infection and to give family members privacy. Our new Hospital for Women and Infants will have 52 private NICU rooms, in addition to eight labor and delivery rooms and three holistic birthing center rooms.
One of the most important features of the new Jacobs Medical Center is its garden-based design. The facility will include numerous outdoor areas. The interior spaces are designed to maximize natural light and integrate nature. Most importantly, the building centers on the patient experience. Throughout the planning process, physicians, staff, and patients have been able to give feedback based on life-size model rooms, built by FOAMCo, a local San Diego company.
Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute Building
Adjacent to Jacobs Medical Center and also scheduled to open in 2016 will be our new Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) building. This 311,000-square-foot building — financed in part by a generous donation from San Diego philanthropists Steve and Lisa Altman — will house research laboratories and clinical research space to support UC San Diego medical and bioengineering investigators, as well as collaborators in San Diego’s biotech community.
This new building, situated in close proximity to our clinical facilities, will further leverage UC San Diego’s strengths as the only academic health system in San Diego and one of just eight in California. Building on advances in genomic and stem cell research, nanotechnology, wireless communications, bioinformatics, robotics and minimally invasive surgical techniques — many of which were spearheaded at UC San Diego — our Health System will play a key role in delivering leading-edge medical care not only in the San Diego region but throughout the United States and beyond.
INCREASING ACCESS TO CARE
One medium to deliver care beyond our region is telemedicine. UC San Diego Health System has been using telemedicine to provide remote clinical care to underserved communities throughout California. It began with a project called UCSD STRokE DOC, led by Brett C. Meyer, MD, SDCMS-CMA member since 2005, aimed at reducing the amount of time it takes to get treatment for a stroke victim. UCSD STRokE DOC has now been expanded, enabling UC San Diego Health System specialists to access remote, rural EDs via live video, audio, and data-stream.
Our telemedicine team has developed protocols and networks and has already negotiated partnership agreements with more than 50 community healthcare sites and providers. To date, our partnerships involve the following specialties: neonatology, endocrinology, neurology, HIV medicine, internal medicine, oncology, radiology, pain medicine, hepatology, and psychiatry. Given our centralized clinical infrastructure, we have the potential to provide telemedicine services for almost all UC San Diego specialties.
The innovative technology housed within our new three-story, $70 million Medical Education and Telemedicine Building allows students and physicians to videoconference around the world with any clinic or doctor with similar technical capability at the other end. [See “Telemedicine: Closing in on Distance Medicine” in the July 2010 issue of San Diego Physician.]
In many ways, the future of medicine is already being practiced at UC San Diego Health System — advances such as awake brain surgery, scarless surgeries through Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES), pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) and cancer treatments using hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC or “chemobath”). Much of what is common practice in medicine today was unimaginable when our Health System was established in 1966.
The construction of UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center, which officially began in January, is progressing on schedule. This and our other new facilities will help us push the envelope even further to grow and increase access to care. UC San Diego Health System has imagined the future of healthcare — and is well on its way to realizing this vision.