In the new world of health care, we must work together differently to share the best of all of us. And collaboration is not limited to within OSF HealthCare. In fact, we recognize the extent to which health is affected by things that have nothing to do with medical care. By partnering with those who share the goal of improving the health of the communities we serve and collaborating better within OSF, we amplify the impact of all we do.

Planning a building takes much more than just blueprints – it takes having the patient in mind and involving the people who will give it an extra special touch.

ladd-streetIn March 2015, the OSF Oncology Services building in Pontiac was relocated to Ladd Street. This bigger facility increased the space where patients receive their treatments, consult with physicians, and it re-launched the STAR cancer rehab services program. The services offered are made possible through collaboration among OSF Saint James – John W. Albrecht Medical Center, Mid-Illinois Oncology & Hematology oncologists, and OSF Mission Partners who gave their own time and resources to the effort.

Throughout this transition, many helping hands, in and outside of OSF HealthCare, showed what makes OSF special. OSF Saint James Mission Partners raised the money for new chemotherapy chairs with many comfort features, including heat. Each patient station also features a private television. Residents in the community – including some with past ties to the clinic as a patient or family member of a patient – now volunteer there, baking fresh cookies and waiting on the patients and support people during their chemo infusions.

The entire Ladd Street Oncology Services facility project was funded by donations, demonstrating the caring commitment of our OSF Mission Partners and the community.

OSF HealthCare, OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center and Alton-area businesses teamed up to accomplish an amazing feat in 2015. In order to better serve the Alton community, the plans called for OSF Saint Anthony’s information technology structure to be completely overhauled for the installation of the state-of-the-art medical record system – Epic. Every computer terminal required replacement, new wiring needed to be installed and all of the hospital staff required training. The Epic implementation would test the teamwork capabilities of the information technology, facilities and training departments. And to complicate an already difficult task, Suite 205, an 11,000 square foot office space in the Physician Office Building, would need to be completed renovated before the Epic start date of November 7, 2015.

The renovation of Suite 205 was a complete overhaul. Last February, leadership from OSF Saint Anthony’s, OSF Medical Group and Saint Anthony’s Physician Group started meeting with OSF Ministry Services (Architecture & Design, IT) to finalize the layout of Suite 205. At the same time, the physicians using Suite 205 were being relocated and the Epic installation was moving forward as planned. With the plans finalized, area construction businesses started and completed the normal six month to one year renovation in four months and opened Suite 205 before the Epic go-live date. At the same time, Ministry Services was able to install, train the staff and implement Epic throughout the entire Health Center and Physician Office Building on schedule.

Rockford-Cancer-CenterPatricia D. Pepe Center for Cancer Care at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford saw a 15,000 square-foot expansion and 3,000 square-foot renovation opened in 2015 to address the growing demand for outpatient oncology services. The $8.5 million project more than doubled the amount of infusion spaces, increased the number of patient restrooms and also includes a retail pharmacy and wig boutique. By remaining connected to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, patients have the peace of mind that they are within close proximity to the Emergency Department, inpatient oncology unit and diagnostic services such as MRI and CT.

Grateful Patient Paul Arco in his own words: “After a rocky couple of years, today I am cancer free. I am grateful beyond words for that news, but I have been forever changed by this experience. I’ve discovered that survivors have a voice and a responsibility to use it. To ask friends and even strangers to join in the fight. Now, I advocate for cancer patients, raise much-needed funds for cancer awareness, and help lead a support group for men who are facing their own cancer diagnosis. And, I share my story. We have a new Cancer Center that affords us the excellent facilities and advanced care that many communities do not have. Giving cancer patients and their families the bright spaces and ample room to heal is such an important part of the journey, and really speaks to the emotional and mental aspects of this battle in a way that I hope you never discover for yourself. This horrible, scary, and insidious disease does not win as long as we give the fighters the tools they need and a place to heal. Together, we will make a difference right here in Rockford.”

At the end of 2014, a neurologist who had served the community of Galesburg, Illinois, for many years retired. With a significant shortage of general neurologists in this country, finding a replacement for this rural community would not be quick or easy. But OSF HealthCare was committed to trying.

In the meantime, leadership at OSF St. Mary Medical Center and the Illinois Neurological Institute worked together to creatively meet the community’s needs for neurological care.

Two advanced practice nurses with considerable expertise in neuro care agreed to spend time in Galesburg doing neuro consults. OSF Galesburg Clinic let the pair use space there to see patients. And to make sure the advanced practice nurses could get quick access to a physician, Telehealth equipment was installed in the office, enabling a patient to video conference with a physician. A workflow was established to send EEGs to the Illinois Neurological Institute to be read, and the APPs were in business. By handling screening consultations for higher levels of care, they were able to assess patients who needed a higher level of neurological care without asking all of them to travel to Peoria, saving the patients time and getting those who needed it quicker access to care at Illinois Neurological Institute.

The creative collaboration has filled the gap in care that will soon be permanently covered by a neurologist who will join the community in summer 2016.

OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Illinois, and Four Seasons Health Club partnered in March of 2015 to provide patients with better access to physical activity through a program called Fit Together. This collaboration allows OSF Medical Group patients who are 65 years or older the opportunity to join an exclusive Four Seasons senior fitness program.

Fit-Together-2With over 250 active participants, the program recently expanded its services to include more group exercises for the Fit Together participants. Not only are they receiving all the health benefits of working out – balance, endurance, more energy, etc. – they are enjoying the social aspects of this senior program.

“First of all – a big thank you to OSF and Four Seasons for recognizing a need for this type of program for 65-plus years seniors,” said Pat, a Fit Together participant. “The classes are designed to help us strengthen our muscles and use them to their full potential. I enjoy the Fit Together program so much that I encouraged my husband to come and now he is dedicated to Fit Together as well.”