Newswise — DALLAS – (Oct. 30, 2014) – UT Southwestern Medical Center will unveil its new $800 million hospital at a dedication ceremony today. The 12-floor, 460-bed facility is being hailed as a patient-centered, state-of-the-art medical innovation for the people of Dallas, North Texas, and beyond.

“The William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital represents an enormously important step for the medical center,” said Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., President of UT Southwestern. “The hospital is a vehicle for our physicians, nurses, and staff to provide the best possible care and experience for patients by bringing together our three-part mission: excellence in patient care, the education and training of current and future caregivers, and research that improves the care and health of people everywhere.”

The new hospital, which will replace the 50 year-old St. Paul University Hospital, is located at 6201 Harry Hines Blvd. in Dallas and is scheduled to open on December 6, 2014.  

“Planning and building the hospital has been under way for the past five years. So dedicating this extraordinary new facility today is an exciting milestone for UT Southwestern,” said Dr. Podolsky, who holds the Philip O'Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called the new hospital a “centerpiece for medical innovation” in an era of rapid growth. “North Texas is one of the fastest growing regions. This facility will meet a growing and important need for Dallas’ expanding population and the increasing demand for quality health care. It will help ensure that we remain at the forefront of the most advanced medical breakthroughs and patient care in the country.” 

The dedication ceremony is expected to draw approximately 200 guests to the light-filled atrium of the new building, including government and community leaders, caregivers who will work at the new facility, UT Southwestern supporters, and generous contributors to Clements University Hospital.

The hospital is named for former Texas Governor William P. Clements Jr., who in 2009 made an unprecedented $100 million gift to benefit UT Southwestern, the largest single contribution in the institution’s history. The gift was unrestricted in its use, with only one stipulation – that the funds be used for a transformational purpose.

Governor Clements’ gift, along with the combined generosity of the Dallas philanthropic community, was instrumental in making the Building the Future of Medicine campaign a success, raising more than $200 million for the hospital.

Nancy Seay, Governor Clements’ daughter, said, “Our family is pleased that my father’s name will be associated with UT Southwestern in a hospital that will foster the spirit of discovery and the pursuit of excellence that he embodied throughout his life. We are very grateful for this honor.”

UT Chancellor Francisco Gonzalez Cigarroa, M.D., noted that innovation has been a hallmark of the Clements University Hospital project from the beginning – including the way in which the new hospital was funded. Although UT Southwestern is a state institution, no state funds were used to build the facility. Along with support from donors, funds were provided through the sale of bonds and revenues generated by UT Southwestern physicians, who provide clinical services to patients.

“Supporters believed in the vision for this new hospital, and they invested in it,” Dr. Cigarroa said. “As a result, a magnificent new facility joins UT System’s health institutions, serving not only patients, but developing the best and brightest medical students, residents, and fellows, who will become the caregivers of the future.”

A Look Inside Clements University Hospital

The ‘Big Idea’ – rethinking the hospital experience

The most distinctive feature of Clements University Hospital is the “big idea” behind its design, according to Dr. Podolsky. Every aspect of the hospital was designed to enhance the patient’s care and experience. “That’s our commitment, and it guided every decision we made,” he said. 

The planning of the hospital was unique in the level of collaboration and community involvement. Hundreds of physicians, nurses, hospital staff, patients, and community friends of UT Southwestern participated in the design process. “The result is a facility that reflects a rethinking of what a hospital should be, from the ground up,” said John Warner, M.D., Vice President and CEO of UT Southwestern University Hospitals.

Dr. Warner played a key leadership role in the planning process and has carefully monitored construction. “Every aspect of the hospital’s design is intended to support caregivers in providing exemplary patient care, integrated with research and training,” he said. “This means that our patients will have access to the best care and most advanced treatments, including access to clinical trials that are exploring new therapies for their conditions,” added Dr. Warner, who holds the Jim and Norma Smith Distinguished Chair for Interventional Cardiology and the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Chair in Cardiovascular Research.

“We treat the whole person, not just the illness,” said Bruce Meyer, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs. “Every element of the hospital was designed with the patient’s comfort and recovery in mind.”

For example:

  • Each patient will have a spacious individual room with large windows that allow in abundant natural light. This has been shown to improve healing and a patient’s sense of well-being.
  • Because patients often feel that being in the hospital means giving up personal control over their surroundings, patients will be able to control the lighting, temperature, and window shades in their room – and even order meals – all from a remote at their bedside. Wi-Fi will be available in each room, allowing patients to connect with the world using their laptops and portable electronic devices.
  • Privacy and peace and quiet are also important patient needs. The hospital’s innovative layout will allow deliveries of most supplies to bypass patient hallways, reducing the noise and foot traffic that are a fact of life in most hospitals – and also reducing the risk of infections.
  • Calming, creatively designed landscaping, including a special garden for patients who are able to go outside, will surround the facility. This allows patients to enjoy a healing, natural environment, while their conditions continue to be monitored electronically.

Bringing Caregivers and Patients Closer Together

Another benefit of the hospital’s design is promoting the nurse-patient relationship. “Patients like having their nurses close by, and nurses thrive when they can develop relationships with patients at the point-of-care,” said Dr. Warner.

The hospital’s unique “W” shape – which promotes efficient space planning – shortens hallways so nurses can be closer to patients. Nurse alcoves located immediately outside of patient rooms also will allow nurses to spend less time getting to patients and more time caring for them. Windows with shades that can be opened and closed from the alcoves enable nurses to check on patients without disturbing them, promoting rest and recovery.

Another innovation is the hospital’s videoconferencing capability, which will be available in all patient rooms. Videoconferencing will allow caregivers to consult with other members of the patient’s care team and show patients images (such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs), helping patients better understand their illness and treatments. These same interactive flat screen monitors will be equipped with high-definition cameras, enabling patients to stay connected with family and friends.

Making Safety and Efficiency Top Priorities

A fundamental focus on safety and efficiency resulted in design features that could only be incorporated into a new hospital.

One of those features is a sophisticated air filtration system. Most hospitals have advanced air filtration systems only in areas where patients have compromised immune systems. But Clements University Hospital will offer enhanced filtration in all areas of the hospital, providing fresher, cleaner air throughout the entire facility.

Cleanliness also will be enhanced by an innovative chute system that will reduce the infection risk for patients by quickly whisking trash and used linen items away from patient floors.

Translating Medical Advances from Bench to Bedside

To promote research and learning, Clements University Hospital will have more than 35,000 square feet of space dedicated specifically to these activities.

Every patient care floor will have space to support clinical research – areas where patients, faculty, staff, and others can participate in cutting-edge research projects, and where patients who need more than standard therapies can have access to the most advanced efforts to create new therapies for their conditions.

UT Southwestern has a long tradition of training current and future physicians in the latest technologies and surgical techniques, as well as leading the discussion about better ways to treat patients. The new facility will further that tradition with a 10,000-square-foot Education and Conference Center that offers larger and more technically sophisticated facilities for conferences, symposiums, and demonstrations. This will support UT Southwestern’s continuing medical education programs, medical conferencing, and lectures for medical students and residents.

In addition, a special feature will be an interactive, professionally staffed Patient and Family Resource Center that will provide information for patients, family members, and visitors seeking to better understand the causes, treatments, and cures for diseases.

“As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, UT Southwestern goes beyond just offering the latest treatments,” Dr. Podolsky said. “Our overarching mission is to advance the field of medicine. UT Southwestern has six Nobel Prize recipients among our outstanding faculty, along with an exceptional history of medical breakthroughs. With the new Clements University Hospital, we will be even better positioned to continue that legacy and ensure that critical research translates to the bedside to help patients.”

Clements University Hospital - Facts at a Glance

  • 12 floors
  • 1.3 million square feet
  • 460 single-patient rooms
  • 40 emergency treatment rooms
  • 24 surgical suites
  • 12 procedure rooms
  • 72 adult ICU rooms
  • 16 labor and delivery rooms
  • 30 neonatal ICU rooms
  • 3 obstetrics specialty surgical suites 
  • 4 CT scan, 2 MRI, and 6 X-ray suites
  • 6 endoscopy suites
  • 2 nuclear medicine rooms

About UT Southwestern Medical Center
UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. Numbering more than 2,700, the faculty is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in 40 specialties to nearly 91,000 hospitalized patients and oversee more than 2 million outpatient visits a year.