Bringing Hospitality to the Hospital: A Reimagined Patient Experience at the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


The David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is the latest example of the institution’s creative approach to rethinking the way cancer care is delivered. It will allow Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to enhance patient comfort and convenience while achieving greater efficiencies by providing exceptional care on an outpatient basis. The center was designed after listening closely to feedback from patients and staff, and with insights learned at MSK’s other thoughtfully designed outpatient facilities. From intuitive touch points ahead of arrival, to the moment patients are greeted, to discharge, the experience is curated to more resemble a calming hospitality environment than a hospital.

“This facility is designed to be an active participant in healing the entire person, because we know that how you feel in your treatment space connects to how you feel overall, and the small conveniences and comforts we provide can go a long way,” said Suzen Heeley, Executive Director of MSK’s Design and Construction Department. “We want everyone who steps foot in the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at MSK to know and feel something — we’ve got you.”

The center is designed to ensure that a holistic and healing environment is present in every way, from a full-service café serving restaurant-quality food to a thoughtfully stocked retail shop. Sun-drenched windows and outdoor spaces present sweeping East River vistas. Dedicated areas exist for restoration (quiet spots in which to relax or reflect), recreation (where welcomed distractions will entertain), and activation (places to work or connect). And an extensive art collection has been selected to uplift patients and caregivers.

Before patients even leave their homes, they can connect through the MyMSK Patient Portal. The MSK Compass wayfinding app guides people from their homes to their appointment rooms. MSK Engage, an electronic questionnaire tool, and other technologies facilitate ways for patients to stay in touch before and after visits, and secure video lines mean that patients can connect with nurses from home. On-site, MSK CarePass badges have revolutionized wait times, as patients and their caregivers are encouraged to wander, not wait. Passing the time before or between appointments can now be spent working, exploring, taking part in recreational activities, watching educational videos, or finding comfort in spaces specifically designed for restoration.

Tablets available during infusion treatment allow patients to adjust the temperature and lighting, call members of their care team, order food, or find entertaining content at their fingertips. Through video technology inside exam rooms, loved ones can join discussions when they can’t be there in person, and doctors and interpreters can be part of remote consultations. And when patients are ready to leave, they can text the valet to bring around their car.

The facility embodies the “art of smart,” with unobtrusive technology that seamlessly supports each step of the patient journey. All of the technology used at the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care at Memorial Sloan Kettering has been thoroughly tested and proven by patients at other MSK facilities to ensure that it is intuitive, easy to use, and durable. All patients will have a choice at every step of their experience whether to use the technology offered or not.