In response to the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, BayCare Health System envisioned a new model of care delivery—one where convenient access to both medical and wellness services can address health issues before acute care services are required. In spring 2019, the new 108,000-square-foot BayCare HealthHub Bloomingdale opened in Valrico, Fla., offering a destination where community members can see a doctor, exercise, shop, and enjoy a healthy meal in one spot.

The two-story facility, designed by Gresham Smith (Tampa, Fla.), integrates traditional healthcare services such as primary care, pediatrics, adult rehabilitation, mental health, urgent care, imaging, and laboratories with wellness activities including fitness classes, nutrition education, and complementary retailers to promote healthy living. The 21-acre campus also includes a half-mile walking trail and a serenity garden and hosts a monthly farmer’s market.

During initial planning sessions, the project team imagined a doctor’s office without waiting rooms, which are often immediate bottlenecks in traditional medical settings. To give patients a streamlined experience from the moment they walk through the front door, the design features an expansive, open lobby with several central registration stations to serve as the sole check-in points for all health and wellness services in the building. After checking in, visitors are escorted directly to an exam room by a BayCare team member, decreasing door-to-doctor time. The integrated model of care also means that patients can see their doctor for a check-up, then visit the gym for their daily workout, and enjoy a nutritious lunch from one of the on-site retailers.

To enable patients to take control of their health at home, what’s dubbed the BayCare TechDeck located in the first-floor lobby provides access to remote monitoring and wearable technology services. Here, health technology coaches are specifically trained to provide support on using a variety of wellness devices and applications that help patients track activity and steps, body fat percentage, heart rate, sleep habits, weight and body mass index, and more.

The modern aesthetic at BayCare’s other campuses inspired the new facility’s architecture, including a blue metal planar wall that extends through the façade and runs vertically through the entire building. Supporting BayCare’s commitment to overall wellness, the lobby’s large, open staircase promotes physical activity, while expanses of windows, including in the lobby and fitness center, help bring the outdoors in.
While the project will serve as the prototype for future HealthHub campuses in the Tampa Bay region, the model is already helping BayCare adapt to changing care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the facility’s “no waiting room” concept has inherently supported social distancing, with patients encouraged to register in advance from home and then go directly to their exam room when they arrive at the building. Even if patients don’t register ahead of time, the centralized registration stations located in the lobby still enable distancing. The building’s four entrances also allowed staff to close two access points and direct visitors from the two remaining entrances to the main lobby for temperature screening.

Additionally, the facility implemented technology to alert medical assistants as to which exam rooms have been sanitized and which rooms still need cleaning. The combination of the building’s physical design, new technologies, and attention to customer service has helped the HealthHub rapidly respond to this new normal, further safeguarding the health and well-being of visitors.

Christina Wilson is project executive, Gresham Smith (Tampa).