Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) today celebrated a new outpatient chemotherapy center, which is scheduled to open later this month, pending approval from the State Department of Health. The 7,745-square-foot facility, called the Brooklyn Infusion Center, will provide leading-edge chemotherapy services to current MSKCC patients who live in or near Brooklyn — which amounts to more than 15 percent of MSKCC’s patients currently being treated in Manhattan. Many of these patients can now be spared the regular commute and receive their treatment in a more convenient setting designed to meet the special needs of chemotherapy patients and their caregivers.
The Brooklyn Infusion Center is more than just a place to get chemotherapy — it will serve as a prototype facility for exploring innovative cancer care models. “Our goal is to find different ways to enhance each patient’s experience while demonstrating how patient care can be streamlined at no expense for patients and hospitals,” said Wendy Perchick, Chief of Strategic Planning and Innovation at Memorial Hospital.
“We are very pleased to offer our patients chemotherapy services closer to home,” said Robert Wittes, MD, Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Hospital. “Equally important, we are excited about the opportunity to learn new ways of providing patient-centered services while joining this thriving community here in Brooklyn.”
In addition to relieving space constraints at MSKCC’s Manhattan sites, the Brooklyn Infusion Center seeks to identify new ways to deliver cost-effective care and reduce patient waiting times. For example, patients receiving treatment at the Brooklyn Infusion Center will benefit from a “chemo-ready” approach in which blood work is performed the day before and a nurse is then able to contact the patient in advance to review test results, thereby reducing patient anxiety over whether he or she has been “cleared” for treatment. In addition, a novel prototype has been developed to transport chemotherapy drugs and related equipment — all individually packaged for each patient — from Manhattan to the Brooklyn Infusion Center. Thus, each individual patient’s chemotherapy is waiting for them upon arrival on the day of treatment and this should reduce wait times.
Other unique approaches and amenities of the facility include:
- A novel chemotherapy chair that includes a chairside touch-screen interactive system enabling patients to call a nurse, get some work or shopping done on the Internet, or make videophone calls with friends and family, and control their own lighting and heating in the space.
- A gallery space featuring seasonal exhibitions incorporating patients’ stories and installed by Brooklyn-based artists.
- Integrative medicine services such as Reiki, acupressure, and massage therapy can be delivered chairside by specially trained nurses on staff.
- Telemedicine, to enable patients to communicate with their Manhattan-based MSKCC physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals from other disciplines, such as social work.
- Patient-centered amenities including the ability to leave between visits personal belongings such as photographs of loved ones that will be set up in the treatment bay for the patient upon arrival, and choices of places to move about while receiving chemotherapy, whenever possible. A library is available for peaceful reading, and a communal “farm table” allows people to gather.
- An indoor garden space, which offers patients a place to socialize, sit quietly, or participate in activities that accommodate both patients and their care partners.
- Community outreach events, such as lectures and seminars about cancer prevention, screening, and treatment.
The Brooklyn Infusion Center was constructed under the direction of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Design and Construction Department. The facilities project team included Stantec, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, AKF Engineers, and JGN Construction. Design Institutions such as Parsons: The New School for Design, Chicago’s Institute of Design, and the IDEO design firm were consulted to generate ideas for the facility.
The Brooklyn Infusion Center cost $3.5 million to construct and is located at 557 Atlantic Avenue near a major transportation hub, including subways, a Long Island Railroad station, and several parking facilities. The Center has 12 treatment rooms and the capacity to accommodate 30 patients and their visitors a day, including Saturdays.