Building a Better Patient Experience

Building a Better Patient Experience

Construction is underway on the Brigham Building for the Future.

When Betsy Nabel, MD, became president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) in 2010, she brought a vision to create a warmer, more welcoming environment for patients, families, and employees, as well as to integrate the latest technologies to benefit patient care and research.

“Enhancing our hospitals’ physical spaces will align them with the extraordinary care we provide,” Nabel says. “Our ultimate goal is to improve the lives of our patients and their families.”

Advancing patient care is the first priority for upgrades across the hospitals’ campuses, including renovations to BWH’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit and Cancer Pavilion, and to BWFH’s Orthopedic Center and Comprehensive Spine Center. In addition to many campuswide updates, the new Brigham Building for the Future will also fulfill the goal of creating spaces that contribute to healing, advance research, and provide seamless, quality care for patients and their families.

BWH and BWFH depend on philanthropy to drive this important work. Gifts to the hospitals’ $1.5 billion campaign—Life. Giving. Breakthroughs.—help Nabel and her team forge ahead with initiatives benefiting generations to come.

The Brigham Building for the Future

Opening in 2016, BWH’s Brigham Building for the Future will be one of the most technologically sophisticated facilities of its kind. With a focus on the neurosciences, immunology, rheumatology, and orthopedics—areas growing in demand as the U.S. population ages—the facility will bring together scientists and clinicians to explore everything from new frontiers in neurologic disease and immune-related disease to rheumatoid arthritis treatments and minimally invasive joint replacement procedures.


The new building will feature:

  • Three floors of clinical space designed for patient-focused care
  • Eight floors of advanced laboratories to translate discoveries into treatments
  • A state-of-the-art imaging center
  • An infusion suite for patients undergoing treatments for diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • A dedicated garden providing a serene environment for patients and families during infusion treatments
  • A conference center where world-renowned researchers and clinicians can connect with and inspire each other
  • A cafe and rooftop garden offering places to gather, share ideas, or simply relax
  • Green construction to support environmental sustainability (LEED Gold-certified)

Stoneman Park Opens at BWH

George Dyer, MD

Pictured above: Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park.

On a sunny day in September, BWH celebrated the opening of the Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park, located in the bustling area of Brigham Circle where Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood and the Longwood Medical Area intersect. The new, tree-lined park at BWH beckons local residents and hospital employees and visitors to enjoy the surroundings.

“The Brigham is a second home for so many patients and staff, and the Thea and James M. Stoneman Centennial Park transforms our front door, creating a space where our entire Brigham community feels cared for and welcomed,” said Betsy Nabel, MD, president of BWH and BWFH, thanking the Stonemans for their generous gift.

Situated at the entryway of the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital building, the new park carries on the legacy of BWH’s predecessor institution and marks the beginning of campus at 15 Francis Street. It also offers underground parking with 400 vehicle spaces for patients and 95 bicycle spaces for employees.

The project, part of Betsy Nabel’s vision to create a warmer, more comforting environment, is the first in a series of enhancements, including restoration of the historic rotunda at the Peter Bent Brigham.

“The Stonemans have recognized that patients are at the center of everything we do, and perceived the need for a place of hope and healing,” Nabel said. “We are incredibly grateful.”

A New Destination for Orthopedic and Spine Care

When a devastating car accident left Mary Lynch housebound this past summer, she wanted the best possible care to speed her recovery from painful injuries to her ankle, wrists, and toes.

“I wanted orthopedic care from a hospital I trusted that’s close to home,” says Lynch. “As soon as I left my local emergency center, I called Faulkner.”

Since their opening in July 2014, the new Brigham and Women’s Orthopedic Center and Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital (BWFH) have helped patients like Lynch get back on their feet—literally. The centers anchor the hospital’s strategy to provide integrated, high-quality, affordable care close to where patients live.

Spanning three floors, the centers feature 25 examination rooms, clinicians’ offices, waiting areas, and host experts in virtually every musculoskeletal discipline, ranging from radiology to occupational therapy to rheumatology. Already, the outpatient unit has increased its volume by 25 percent, and will accommodate 15,000 patient visits annually.

Upon arrival, orthopedic patients are matched to specialty clinics for the areas they need, including foot and ankle, hand and upper extremity, joint replacement, podiatry, rehabilitation, sports medicine and shoulder services. This enables each clinic to accurately evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with high-performance therapies that quickly get them on a course to recovery.

Integrated care in action

After her accident, Lynch first met with orthopedic surgeon Jeremy Smith, MD, who specializes in foot and ankle injuries.

“I was reassured after meeting Dr. Smith,” says Lynch. “He provided exceptional care for my injuries in a very compassionate, comforting manner.”

Later, Brandon Earp, MD, chief of Orthopedic Surgery at BWFH, determined Lynch’s wrists weren’t healing well due to fractures, and proposed surgery to correct them. For Lynch, having both wrist operations while still recovering from ankle and toe surgery meant being dependent on help at home post-operatively—a major concern because she lives on her own.

“Dr. Earp was so understanding,” Lynch recalls. “She gave me a protective splint for one hand so that I could stagger the surgeries. Having so many joints compromised at once is hard emotionally and logistically, and everyone at Faulkner did everything they could to get me mobile again as quickly and safely as possible.”

“We were always busy, but we never had the capacity to provide our patients with truly comprehensive care for all orthopedic issues until now,” Earp says. “Before, if I had a patient with a hip or knee problem, I had to send them to one of our other locations. Now, our patients can receive all their orthopedic care here at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, which is really wonderful.”

The Orthopedic Center also enables BWFH to offer outpatient total joint replacement for hips, knees, and sports medicine conditions, which was not possible in the old space. New, state-of-the-art operating rooms are fitted with updated audio-visual systems, allowing improved abilities to teach and train.

“We’re excited that everything can be televised and projected to conference rooms where our residents, fellows, and medical students can observe and learn,” says Earp. “Each of the these components helps us fulfill all of our missions: to provide excellent care, promote research, teach the next generation of leaders, and work with the community and take care of local patients.”

More improvements on the way

BWFH continues to advance the patient and family experience. Currently, the hospital is renovating an entire wing for inpatient orthopedic care, scheduled to open in July 2015. The new inpatient unit will provide leading-edge care in all-private rooms, which are being designed in close collaboration with doctors, nurses, support staff, and members of the community.

“The new inpatient unit will be very family- and patient-centered. We designed it from the ground up to include all the wish list items from our Patient and Family Advisory Council,” says Earp. “This new space will allow patients and families to really flourish while they heal.”