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Swedish Orthopedic Institute Opens in Seattle

Specialized orthopedic facility, first in the Northwest, is 'unlike a traditional hospital setting'

SEATTLE, June 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Swedish will admit its first patients on Monday, June 23 in the new, $140 million Orthopedic Institute at 601 Broadway on Seattle's First Hill. Five years in planning including three years in design and construction, the innovative facility is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and one of the largest in the United States.


The 372,000-square-foot Swedish Orthopedic Institute (SOI) has 11 stories -- with five floors devoted to patient care, two for medical offices, and four of underground parking. Key elements include:

-- 84 new inpatient beds (28 on each of three floors)

-- 10 dedicated orthopedic operating rooms

-- 15 pre-operating/stage-2 recovery beds

-- 13 post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) beds

-- Outpatient pharmacy

-- Pre-admission areas, conference rooms and a cafe

"We've combined all orthopedic services and many spine services together under one new roof, vastly streamlining care," said Cal Knight, Swedish president and chief operating officer. "Patient spaces have been completely re-thought to produce far better flow from pre-surgical testing and education all the way to discharge."

While demand for orthopedic and spine services at Swedish has exploded in recent years, the medical center has not had dedicated orthopedic diagnostic and treatment space since its inception in 1910. Swedish has 54 active orthopedic surgeons on staff, many of which were heavily involved in the vision for and design of the new facility. Surgeons who practice in the new facility will provide the full spectrum of orthopedic care from joint and spine surgery to surgeries on hands, feet, shoulders, elbows and the many other bones in the body. The Institute even has affiliated surgeons who specialize in the removal of tumors of the bone.

"There's new evidence coming out in the medical literature showing that patients at specialized orthopedic facilities have better clinical outcomes," said James Crutcher, M.D., chief of Orthopedics. "Now we can provide this level of care to the ever-increasing numbers of patients who need surgery for their worn out joints and spines. Nearly 30 percent of Swedish's orthopedic patients already hail from outside of King and Snohomish counties and that number will certainly grow."

SOI was designed as an efficient and technologically advanced facility that is comfortable for patients, surgeons, anesthesiologists, therapists and staff.

"We promised the community a dedicated facility that represents the gold standard in orthopedic care and we have created exactly that," said Heidi Aylsworth, SOI administrative director. "Physicians and staff here will have access to the latest in medical technology and information systems in an efficient yet patient-centered environment."

A public open house at SOI is planned on Saturday, June 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the first surgery is scheduled for Monday, June 23.

A New Approach

SOI is unlike a traditional hospital setting in many ways. It is closer to the birthing suite model, where families can be with the patient in a natural environment. Patients will have access to extensive clinical education and rooms that feature wireless Internet access, DVD players, flat-screen televisions, and room service-style food service. The unique environment will also allow patients to get up, move around, exercise and socialize with others during recovery, not stay isolated in their rooms.

Swedish calls its treatment process for joint-replacement patients the 'Joint Journey,' which is a comprehensive educational program to guide patients through each step of the joint-replacement process. It is designed to create a stress-free experience for people having a hip, knee or other joint replaced, leading to the smoothest possible transition from hospital to home and full recovery.

SOI clinicians will also be able to work more extensively on outcomes-based research. Because orthopedic patients will not be co-mingled with other diagnoses, there will be greater opportunity to do integrated, specialized research.

Dr. Crutcher noted that the opening of the Orthopedic Institute will also be a boon for physician, nurse, therapist and staff recruitment. "Swedish can now better showcase its orthopedics and spine expertise on a national scale," he said.

CB Richard Ellis represented Swedish as the project manager of the Orthopedic Institute and led the team, which included leading architectural firm, NBBJ, who designed the new building and the general contractor, Sellen Construction.

"The Orthopedic Institute project demonstrates the benefits of including all stakeholders in the process," said Clark Lindsay, VP of Project Management for CB Richard Ellis. "The entire project team -- Swedish, CBRE, NBBJ and Sellen -- delivered this technically advanced surgical facility on time and on budget."

SOI is an integral step in the continuing process of creating a campus that supports Swedish's strategic plans for the future, as well as providing a facility that offers best-in-class performance.

"From every standpoint, SOI is one of the most sophisticated health-care facilities on the West Coast," said Kristina Rhyn, NBBJ's principal in charge of the project. "State-of-the-art technology is coupled with standardized room planning to advance patient care and safety, while daylight-infused spaces, natural materials and rich colors enhance the experience for patients and their families."

Two conceptual 'spine sculptures' were commissioned for SOI, based on the theme of mobility. Julie Speidel of Seattle designed a large-scale piece in basalt stones with bronze inlays that is an artistic interpretation of a spine when viewed from above. And artist Debbie Young of Ellensburg, Wash., created 10 four-foot by four-foot panels out of terrazzo from the former building on site that resembles a spine.

Orthopedics Background

The work of orthopedic physicians and surgeons involves the body's entire musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic problems may be congenital or degenerative, or caused by accident and overuse.

Swedish has a 99-year history of high-level orthopedic and spine care and does more than 5,000 orthopedic-related surgeries each year. That includes 2,200 joint replacements and 1,800 spine cases.

"After C-sections, joint replacement surgery is the highest volume inpatient procedure that most large medical centers perform," said Dr. Crutcher. "It's a proven and predictable clinical process with reliable outcomes."

In addition, there are new developments in spine treatments on a regular basis. "Advancements in minimally invasive spine surgery, the use of artificial discs, pain management, and patient education are really helping provide patients access to a new and more comprehensive level of care," said SOI-affiliated physician Jeffrey Garr, M.D., who specializes in spine surgery.

At SOI, multidisciplinary treatment teams provide comprehensive, personalized care for patients from diagnosis and treatment through recovery. Teams are led by orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists (physicians specializing in rehabilitation), orthopedic nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and coordinated-care specialists.

Depending on a patient's individual needs, the treatment team may also include physicians and professionals with other special training, such as cardiologists, internal-medicine physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons or pain specialists.

The Wilma Nelson Atrium

The Wilma Nelson Atrium, a focal point of the new Orthopedic Institute, is named in honor of the daughter of an early Swedish supporter. It was in the 1920s that Ole Nelson, M.D., moved from Wisconsin to Seattle with his wife, Mabel, and daughter, Wilma. Almost as soon as the family arrived, Ole became involved with other surgeons in the establishment of what would become Swedish Medical Center. The Nelson family, in fact, lived in a house next to Swedish on First Hill and when Ole and Mabel died, the house and property were left to the medical center. Wilma moved to The Highlands neighborhood in north Seattle and the Orthopedic Institute now sits on part of the property once owned by the Nelson Family. When Wilma died a few years ago, leaving a gift of $2.5 million to the Swedish Foundation, it was a natural fit to name the Atrium in her honor.

About Swedish

Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses - First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard -- a freestanding emergency department and specialty center in Issaquah, Home Care Services, and the Swedish Physician Division - a network of about 40 primary-care and specialty clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit

About CB Richard Ellis

CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. is the world's largest commercial real estate services firm (in terms of 2007 revenue). It serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 offices worldwide (excluding affiliate offices). It offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. CB Richard Ellis is the only commercial real estate services company named one of the 50 'best in class' companies by BusinessWeek, and was also named one of the 100 fastest growing companies by Fortune. For more information, visit

About NBBJ

For more than 60 years, NBBJ, a leading global architecture and design firm, has helped companies and organizations create innovative places. From top-performing world headquarters to state-of-the-art health-care facilities -- including collaboration on seven of the top 10 U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll hospitals -- NBBJ has designed communities, buildings, products, environments, and digital experiences that enhance people's lives. For more information, visit

About Sellen

Sellen Construction Company was founded in 1944 by John Sellen as a commercial general contractor. In pursuit of the company's goal to be 'To be the best contractor in the Northwest ... if not the country,' Sellen works in collaboration with their project teams to build great projects and create positive experiences. Over the years, Sellen has built expertise to help clients in various industries including health care, commercial office, arts and entertainment, education, biotechnology, and office tenant improvements. For more information, visit

SOURCE Swedish Medical Center
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