Leading the Charge: A Model for the Future of Outpatient Care at UC San Diego Health

By: Gina Chang

North entry plaza view

View from north entry plaza

The UCSD Health System Outpatient Pavilion, which broke ground at the end of November, has been sharing its story recently. First, the project was presented at the AIA|LA Healthcare Committee meeting at CO Architects’ office in Los Angeles, then at the Tradeline Conference for Facilities Strategies for Academic Medical and the Health Sciences in San Diego.

The challenge: The Outpatient Pavilion is the last multi-specialty outpatient building UC San Diego Health will build on its La Jolla campus for several years. It is the last project of a phase of unprecedented expansion; its budget is limited, and several clinical departments want in. With the help of CO Architects and Kurt Salmon, UC San Diego defined a right-sized program that responded to the whole patient and the continuum of care, and underwent a care stream programming process that mapped out ideal patient experiences while eliminating waste and increasing efficiency.

The Outpatient Pavilion houses centers of excellence achieving flexibility and distinction, characteristics that can seem in opposition. Flexibility is a requirement. It is one of the most dynamic times in US healthcare. In addition, UC San Diego Health has a vision to create a healthier world through new science, new medicine and new cures, which requires facilities to be nimble in accommodating new equipment and models of working. For these same reasons, UCSD has premier centers of excellence with high-profile faculty and distinct modi operandi. The facility needed to satisfy both requirements – flexibility and distinction.

Stacking and flow diagram - Section

right image: Stacking and flow diagram – yellow marks the public zone. left image: Section through lightwell providing daylight into the clinic work areas

The planning shows a clinic module wing grouped with a supplementary wing. This allowed for each floor to have identity for the centers (clinics), as well as supporting departments to complement each center. The patient / service flow followed the “Disneyland” approach – clear branding and a seamless experience on the public side, and well-oiled efficiency on the service side. The centers have identities on each floor, which uses color cues and integrated signage for wayfinding. The colors are intuitive, taking the tones of a sunrise, starting with grass green on the basement and topping off with sunny colors on the top floor.

The major design and sustainable feature of the building is the sky-lit atrium, which houses the collaborative work zones and maximizes daylight, San Diego’s most abundant natural resource. The Outpatient Pavilion is achieving LEED Silver, and performs over 20% better than Title 24. Most important, it provides a day-lit haven for providers to circulate, collaborate, rest, and check the weather.  It’s sunny, of course.  It’s San Diego.

South east view on Medical center drive - patient drop off

South east view on Medical Center Drive – patient drop off

Apheresis Center (Special Blood Donation) - Public reception and waiting area

Apheresis Center (Special Blood Donation) – Public reception and waiting area

Sport medicine nursing stations

Sport medicine nursing stations

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