Guest Column: Community effort built Overlake Cancer Center, debuting at open house Sept. 14

  • Friday, September 8, 2017 7:30am
  • Opinion

This week we celebrate the opening of the new Cancer Center at Overlake Medical Center.

A cancer diagnosis is life-changing. It is frightening and consumes the time and energy of the patient as well as those who love them.

The treatment journey involves an onslaught of diagnosis, testing, treatment–surgery, radiation, infusion, medicine–and support from many.

Patients and their families have to navigate hospitals, make multiple appointments, coordinate transportation to, from, and between different doctors’ offices. It’s physically taxing and emotionally exhausting.

Our new Cancer Center streamlines the process and coordinates care at one central location for all types of cancers, reducing the unnecessary stress many patients endure during traditional cancer care. There is one place to check-in for everything a patient needs. Doctors come to the patient and not the other way around.

We are doing this because science shows that a better patient experience leads directly to better patient outcomes.

The idea of putting patients and families at the center of the care orbit is unique, and we worked with a panel of patients and their families, staff, doctors and other experts in re-imagining the process from the ground up.

We like to think of Overlake’s Cancer Center as “single source,” where patients get the best of all worlds: Top-tier treatment; extraordinary doctors and staff; the most advanced technologies and medicines; survivorship services; and one-on-one social support of patients to help them navigate care and life decisions after receiving a diagnosis.

All this is wrapped together with the amenities of being treated close to home in a tight-knit, community hospital.

Rallying point

Overlake opened its doors in 1960 because Bellevue residents wanted high-quality medical care without having to cross the bridge to Seattle.

The entire community rallied behind the new hospital. It was a true group effort. Kids donated jars of pennies. Pillars of the community gave bigger sums. All together, they made it happen.

Overlake’s birth was a huge accomplishment and pivotal in the development of the Eastside.

Fast forward almost 60 years, and the same spirit created the Overlake Cancer Center. The community came together and raised half the cost, more than $10 million. It was a remarkable effort.

In fact, the Overlake Cancer Center is just the first phase in an ambitious plan to keep pace with the growing Eastside.

We broke ground earlier this summer on what we call Project FutureCare, a $270 million investment to upgrade the main hospital campus and add services, such as a new Childbirth Center and Orthopedic Unit.

I like to say that all of us in the Puget Sound region are extremely lucky to be surrounded by the best medical care in the world.

We like to think we’re helping set that already-high bar just a little bit higher.

J. Michael Marsh is CEO of Overlake Medical Center. Join the Overlake team between 4:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, for a community open house to tour the new Overlake Cancer Center.

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