Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s new Center for Advanced Pediatrics, which opens July 24, is a game changer in the medical field.
The Brookhaven facility will bring doctors, nurses and caregivers in more than 20 pediatric specialties and clinics under one roof.
“It’s a beautiful building, but the real key is what this building is going to serve: the families, the kids that need very, very special care,” Children’s President and CEO Donna Hyland said. “That’s why we all are so excited, because those people who work and care for these families understand just the incredible impact this center will have.”
Hyland was one of five individuals who spoke about the center, located on North Druid Hills Road by Interstate 85, at a private ribbon-cutting event Tuesday. The 260,000-square-foot facility, which broke ground in January 2017, is a medical office building offering outpatient care only. It is not a hospital and will not house any emergency or walk-in services.
“This Center for Advanced Pediatrics is going to completely transform the way pediatric healthcare is provided to the children of Georgia who have the most complex medical conditions,” said Jonathan Goldman, chair of the Children’s board.
The $127 million center is also the first facility to open at the new Children’s North Druid Hills campus, which is expected to one day replace its Egleston campus, also in DeKalb County. Children’s is investing between $1 billion and $1.3 billion in the new 70-acre North Druid Hills site.
But the new hospital, which will have 446 beds in two patient towers, is not supposed to open until 2026. At that point, the Children’s will no longer operate an inpatient facility at the old Egleston campus, and that campus’ purpose will be determined during the hospital system’s planning process over the next several years.
The eight-floor center will include more than 250 patient rooms, a teaching kitchen and classroom, a café, a clinical research lab, conference rooms and mother’s rooms on every floor, telemedicine capabilities, dedicated family respite spaces and a garden.
Both Hyland and Tommy Holder, a Children’s system trustee and a member of the facilities operating committee, said the center is a much larger-scale version of the clinic Dr. Judson Hawk Jr. founded decades earlier. Hawk, who died in 2003, was considered a pioneer for starting a clinic where patients could get coordinated care from multiple pediatric specialists.
“It feels amazing because it’s been a dream (to open the center),” Hyland said in an interview after the event. “I knew Dr. Hawk. He started (his) clinic probably 35 years ago, and to be able to see that what we can do is going to help these families so much (is important). Because when you meet them and you see just the challenges they face every day, we know they’re going to have a place where they can come, and it’s going to give them more hours in a day where they’re not in a car. That’s what inspires all of us.”
The new center is expected to have more than 100,000 clinic visits in its first year. It will also have the latest in technology and energy efficiency.
“We’re using 66 percent less energy to power this building than the average medical office building,” Holder said. “As such, we’re seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council, which is the second highest certification.”
Hyland said the new technology is designed to make patients’ families’ visits to the center smoother. That includes electronic check-in, where parents can fill out their doctor’s office’s paperwork online before coming in, so when they arrive, all they have to do is confirm their information is correct.
“Instead of standing in registration lines, they’ll be greeted by our representatives who will help shepherd them through,” Hyland said. “… The other thing we’re very excited about is that (program) will be expanding. You can actually (download) an app where we will know when families are arriving and can help them get into the building, get them to the parking deck. We’re looking at all kinds of ways to help families.
“(Some of) these families are getting up at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and driving to Atlanta from all parts of Georgia. So we want to do our best to help make the whole experience as easy as we possibly can because we know one of the things we can do is take all stress off of our families. We want to give them time just to enjoy life and not have to think about going to the doctor or being sick.”