BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Through special partnerships with three leading cancer treatment providers, The Toledo Clinic has aimed to offer the most comprehensive care options available in this area.
The Toledo Clinic Cancer Center comprises a 70,000-square-foot state-of-the-art medical center. Set to open next year at Side Cut Crossings in Maumee, The Toledo Clinic Cancer Center recently announced a partnership with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, a leading cancer treatment provider in Michigan.
“The name may not be as well-known in Toledo today, but if you travel throughout Michigan, either in the Grand Rapids or Detroit area, Karmanos is a major name,” said Mike D’Eramo, Toledo Clinic chief administrative officer.
Karmanos is one of just 51 cancer centers throughout the country designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This prestigious designation means patients can access treatments exclusive to Karmanos as well as clinical trials, cancer prevention programs and multidisciplinary teams of cancer specialists. There are only two other NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in Ohio, and those are located in Columbus and Cleveland.
“Having the Karmanos Cancer Institute bringing the third NCI designation to Ohio is very important,” D’Eramo said. “With that designation comes a tremendous amount of research and clinical trials, which we are all interested in.”
Justin Klamerus, M.D., M.M.M., president of the Karmanos Cancer Hospital & Network, which is part of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, said that the partnership would provide broad services to those who live in this area.
“Creating a state-of-the-art health care campus will enable us to provide outstanding patient-centered care and deliver new life-changing therapies and treatments, enhancing access to robust cancer services, close to home; including telemedicine services. Together, our joint teams will advance the fight against cancer,” he said.
In addition to Karmanos, The Toledo Clinic Cancer Center has also partnered with the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center and with the Maurer Family Cancer Care Center at Wood County Hospital.
The motivation to partner with those organizations is prompted in part by the number of individuals leaving the area to seek cancer treatment. According to D’Eramo, one third of cancer patients will leave Toledo for some variation of cancer care in cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, Ann Arbor and Detroit.
The Toledo Clinic by itself was not going to be able to suddenly create the talent, research and academics it needed to provide such harmony in the care of patients, D’Eramo said.
“Toledo is a smaller market with competing health systems, so these partnerships are very important,” he said. “There are tremendous resources in the community that are under-realized and underutilized, so these three partners are very important.”
In addition to working with regional partners, The Toledo Clinic is also working on a cutting-edge building design to promote optimal healing in a calm, peaceful environment.
Bob Gesing is the principal and national healthcare practice leader for Trinity:NAC, the Columbus architectural firm that planned and design the project. According to Gesing, a significant amount of research, exploration and effort went into the building design. Convenience for patients and families and creating spaces that promote optimal healing were the driving factors with every element of design – from the use of materials and placement of windows to the organization of areas, he said.
Minimizing steps and travel time to treatment rooms and designing spaces around patient needs focuses on the convenience aspect.
Biophilic design, which is used to connect patients with nature, has been implemented to enhance healing. Providing treatment options that are literally outside, creating natural light in every treatment area and adding natural elements to spaces are just a few of the ways nature is infused into the building design and thus, the healing process, Gesing said.
“We wanted to make sure that the building has access to nature,” he said. “There has been a lot of work over the last decade of evidence-based design that starts to understand that environment can effect healing. With this design, there is a strong emphasis on considering the emotional and cognitive as well as the physical implication of the experience and the environment and how that effects wellness and healing.”
According to D’Eramo, the project is expected to bring 80 to 100 full-time jobs to Maumee as well as highly skilled physicians. The new facility will also house a state-of-the-art diagnostic radiology center that will be open to all patients, not just oncology.