MINNESOTA: The Design for Tomorrow’s Health Care.

The 64,000-square-foot Minnetonka Medical Center brings together expert providers in a state-of-the-art facility designed to streamline the practice of medicine in the era of healthcare reform.

The Design for Tomorrow’s Health Care

Passage of the ACA caused a paradigm shift in the delivery of medical services. Traditionally, patients sought treatment at hospitals even for services that could easily have been provided on an outpatient basis in the community setting, which led to inflated healthcare costs and unsatisfactory experiences.

Subscribe-to-our-NewsletterTo remedy the weaknesses of traditional healthcare delivery, North Memorial Health Care constructed the Minnetonka Medical Center as a means to provide ambulatory care at an easily accessible location on the west side of the Twin Cities metro area, where residents would otherwise lack such services, according to J. Kevin Croston, MD, President of Population Health and Ambulatory Services at North Memorial Hospital and CMO of North Memorial Health Care System.

“The Minnetonka Medical Center is a place patients can go instead of driving a long way to a hospital. We’ve designed the facility to improve accessibility, streamline patient flows and reduce wait times. It’s like concierge medicine that is accessible to all, which is a real boon to the community.”
— J. Kevin Croston, MD, President of Population Health and Ambulatory Services at North Memorial Hospital and CMO of North Memorial Health Care System

“The Minnetonka Medical Center provides comprehensive services for conditions that don’t require hospitalization,” says Dr. Croston, who will become CEO of North Memorial Health Care in April. “This center demonstrates our commitment to the community and represents a change in the healthcare landscape. Traditionally, health systems opened ambulatory care centers and outpatient clinics to increase their inpatient volumes and procedures. Now, we’re seeking to provide medical care in other settings in order to keep patients out of the hospital. This philosophical shift reduces healthcare costs and allows us to broaden our presence on the healthcare continuum.”

Collaborative Care

To fully realize the administration’s vision for a center as the central medical resource for families in the area, North Memorial Health Care sought prominent physicians from the area to form a community of care within the center.

“This state-of-the-art facility is built for the way care needs to be delivered right now and in the future,” Dr. Croston says. “Additionally, when we were staffing the center, we didn’t look for average providers. At the Minnetonka Medical Center, providers can collaborate with other specialists who are at the top of their fields in a technically advanced environment.”

The center’s design facilitates collaborative care by locating providers in the same building and proximally to specialists such as surgeons and to services including lab and imaging, which can be easily accessed the same day.

“Healthcare delivery is changing to be more team-focused,” says Wendy Shear, MD, interventional cardiologist and Medical Director of the Minnetonka Medical Center. “It’s no longer physicians working in isolation who see their patients for every medical complaint. We’ve assembled a phenomenal team of support staff and specialists to care for our patients. I’m excited to work there, and patients will benefit from receiving expert services in one location.”

Second Urgency Center

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MMC Urgency Center, a cross between an urgent care clinic and emergency room, is staffed by emergency medicine physicians.

For medical care for virtually any emergent condition, the Minnetonka Medical Center features North Memorial’s second Urgency Center, modeled after emergency departments at North Memorial and Maple Grove Hospital, which operates under the leadership of board-certified emergency medicine physicians from North Memorial’s Level I Trauma Center.

“I’ve lived in the Minnetonka area for more than 20 years, and there is no facility like ours nearby,” Dr. Shear says. “North Memorial has a similar center in Blaine, and we’re replicating that on a larger scale here. The Urgency Center is a cross between an urgent care clinic and an emergency room and is staffed by emergency medicine physicians who provide higher levels of care than that which is typically found in urgent care clinics. This lower-cost service provided by experts is invaluable for people who previously had to travel considerable distances to find an emergency room or hospital.”

Providers in the Urgency Center treat a broad spectrum of adult and pediatric conditions, including abdominal pain, allergies and asthma, cardiac rhythm problems, chest pain, concussions, fractures, kidney stones, pneumonia, and sports injuries.

Wait times in the Urgency Center are reduced because the Minnetonka Medical Center doesn’t receive ambulances, but if patients present with a condition that requires hospitalization, providers can expeditiously arrange transportation to North Memorial or another facility.

Building a Better Patient Experience

MMC-Self Checkin 250
A new model of care where patients have self check-in with advanced technology

The Minnetonka Medical Center’s design addresses common barriers to a positive patient experience by integrating technological innovation with comfort.

Technologically advanced systems guide patients through the check-in process. Interactive digital video boards direct patients through the facility and allow access to provider directories.

Patients bypass traditionally slow entry processes by initially checking themselves in at kiosks in the main waiting area and, after being directed to their exam room, complete the process using an iPad. While touch-screen kiosks and iPads provide user-friendly check-in for patients comfortable with such technology, care was taken to make the process easy for the entire patient population.

“We utilize technology the public uses, but we know older patients may not be familiar with such devices,” Dr. Shear says. “We also employ medically trained greeters to assist and guide patients as they enter the center.”

After the first visit, the process becomes even more streamlined. At the end of their initial visit to the Minnetonka Medical Center, patients receive ID cards — linked to their EHR — to be used for future check-ins.

“We wanted this facility to optimize patient flow, so we designed it with a convenient layout that patients can navigate expeditiously,” Dr. Croston says. “We have an enormous waiting room, but we want it to be empty.”

Administrators also incorporated natural light and soft colors, as well as a fireplace, to make the facility more welcoming.

“People have told me it feels like an Apple store with a warmer, friendlier atmosphere,” Dr. Croston says. “The Minnetonka Medical Center is an updated and modern facility designed to greatly enhance the patient experience.”

Preventive Care

Minnetonka Medical Center aims to reduce patients’ need for medical care. Patients with chronic diseases often repeatedly access healthcare services in the hospital or emergency room setting, which can lead to exorbitant costs and poor disease management.

Preventive care and community wellness programs are vital aspects of medical care provided at the center, and each provider seeks to educate patients to effectively manage their disease in the comfort of their own homes.

This facility-wide initiative has led to the implementation of multiple screening opportunities, as well as tests for common chronic diseases.

“Preventive medicine for patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma or cardiac conditions, can be managed in the ambulatory setting to prevent hospitalization,” Dr. Croston says. “The Minnetonka Medical Center locates critical services for effective management closer to patients to allow for such prevention, which is a big win for both physicians and patients.”

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Highway 7 and east of Highway 101 in Minnetonka

Room for Partnership

The Minnetonka Medical Center provides space for independent providers to expand their practices to the west metro area and work in a collaborative environment that enhances the level of care they can provide by locating specialty services in close proximity to their offices. The first floor opened Nov. 4, 2014, and includes a primary care clinic, lab and imaging services, and the urgency center. The second floor’s multispecialty clinic is scheduled to open in March 2015, closely followed in May by the Ambulatory Surgery Center.

North Memorial Health Care offers attractive leasing options that are less demanding than traditional agreements.

“It used to be that if you wanted to practice at a facility such as the Minnetonka Medical Center, you had to rent an office, hire a staff and then keep the staff there daily, whether you wanted to work that often or not,” says J. Kevin Croston, MD, President of Population Health and Ambulatory Services at North Memorial Hospital and CMO of North Memorial Health Care System. “The model we offer is that providers can lease space for as much time per week as they want, and they can choose to bring their own staff or use North Memorial staff. This is a much cheaper way for providers to expand their practices into this area.”

All providers practicing in the facility keep medical records in an easily accessible electronic format. Providers may bring their own EHR system or integrate with North Memorial’s infrastructure.

For more information about the Minnetonka Medical Center, visit or call 763-581-2425.

Source: MD News December 2014, Minnesota Edition

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