Building the Future of Medicine
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital opened in December 2014, transforming the opportunities for medical care in North Texas. A thoughtfully-designed hospital unlike any other, it was built on the firm foundation of one big idea: Every aspect was designed to enhance the patient’s care and experience.
To meet a greater-than-expected need for specialty patient care in North Texas and the surrounding states, UT Southwestern recently completed a $520 million expansion of the hospital. Opened for patients in 2020, the 12-story third tower serves as the clinical home for the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and adds operating rooms, interventional suites, a newly expanded Emergency Department, and two new parking facilities. The project enhances both the quality of care and the efficiency of delivery to accommodate growth.
As a hospital within an academic medical center, Clements University Hospital is a centerpiece for carrying out UT Southwestern’s three-part mission – to heal, innovate, and educate.
It’s a place where the intellect, skill, and science of UT Southwestern are translated into the delivery of compassionate patient care.
Quality of Care
At William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, quality patient care is at the heart of everything we do.
Every element of our facility promotes patient comfort, tranquility, safety, and health, creating the best environment possible for you and your loved ones. We’ve focused on things that can contribute to wellness and recovery.
- Throughout Clements University Hospital, private patient rooms encourage rest and healing.
- Cutting-edge technology enables physicians and nurses to provide the highest level of quality care. And hospital amenities make loved ones feel welcome and comfortable.
Education and Innovation
We closely integrated our research and education missions into the hospital to enrich the future of medicine as well as more quickly bring innovative treatments to our patients.
William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is a facility unlike any other. The distinctive hospital was thoughtfully designed to enhance patient care and comfort, provide a welcoming environment for visitors and family members, and support our medical professionals in delivering safe, effective, and compassionate care.
In many ways, our hospital is like a member of our care team. Its innovative design and advanced technology enable caregivers to provide the highest possible level of patient care, safety, and comfort. For instance:
- The building was designed in a series of Vs, as a way of reducing the distances that caregivers must travel to reach patients on the patient care floors.
- The design also allows for simpler wayfinding and creates better adjacencies for care providers, as well as better visibility for team members to see each other, all of which contribute to reduced confusion and noise.
- Nursing stations are located immediately outside patient rooms, which helps to facilitate patient observation and reduce distractions.
- An innovative chute system that quickly whisks trash and used linen away from patient areas was incorporated into the building to help prevent infections.
- Floor coloring was designed to reduce the risk of accidents by making dropped items easier to spot.
- A sophisticated air filtration system provides fresher, cleaner air throughout the hospital, which helps to reduce the risk of infections. Additionally, the hospital features specialized water treatment systems, which also work to reduce the spread of illness.
“Our vision is to provide the very best care possible to all those who come to us for help, and to do so while training the next generation of caregivers and conducting research that addresses some of the most important challenges in medical science.”
“By listening to our stakeholders and evaluating best practices in the industry, we created a vision of what a patient-centered academic medical facility should offer.”
Transforming Medical Care Through Innovation and Compassion
Every aspect of the hospital has been carefully considered. “We’re bringing together innovative hospital design, the most current technology, and industry best practices to create an environment that seamlessly integrates patient care with leading-edge research and medical education. Everything we’ve done, and every decision we’ve made, has been to better serve our patients,” Dr. Podolsky said.
To achieve these goals, the hospital planning team gathered input from patients, caregivers, faculty, and researchers. The team visited respected hospitals around the country to identify best practices. And work groups focused on specific aspects of hospital operations, developing innovative approaches to enhance patient care.
The architects for the facility also participated in the planning process, attending hundreds of hours of work group meetings to listen to the discussions of the doctors, nurses, and staff who would be working in the hospital. As a result, the architects were able to incorporate the best insights and ideas into the hospital’s design.
Design Promotes Care, Quality, and Collaboration
One unique feature of the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is how it's designed in a series of Vs, which is both distinctive and functional. This design – which is a response to input from UT Southwestern nurses – improves patient care and makes it easier for patients, staff, and visitors to navigate the facility.
For staff, the V shape minimizes the distances that must be covered to perform routine duties. It enables nurses to maintain closer interaction with patients and have better sight lines into each patient’s room.
The design also supports operational quality, protecting patients from infections and exposure, since most materials are moved directly from supply elevators to storage areas – bypassing patient hallways and creating a cleaner, quieter environment. Dedicated trash and linen chutes also contribute to a healthier environment by removing items quickly from the building.
Promoting collaboration is another priority, and related specialties are co-located on certain floors. This allows cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons, for example, to easily consult on cases. There are also designated areas for doctors and students to confer, and for clinical research to take place.
The Power of Technology
Along with the innovative design, the hospital incorporates the most advanced technology. Secure mobile devices, for example, enable physicians and nurses to maintain, track, and share up-to-date electronic medical records. RFIDs (radio-frequency identification devices) and bar coding of equipment and medications will promote proper tracking and administration – reducing the potential for errors.
In patient rooms, monitors enable caregivers and patients to review charts and images (such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs) at the bedside, while videoconferencing capability – one of the most innovative features of the hospital – allows patients to stay connected with family and friends. Surgeons also have similar videoconferencing capabilities in the operating rooms, enabling real-time discussions with pathologists and other colleagues during surgery.
As part of our recent expansion, we’ve added an intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system within a hybrid operating room, as well as high-intensity focused ultrasound imaging.
Looking to the future, the hospital is designed for maximum flexibility. This will enable new equipment and technology to be quickly integrated, with minimal downtime for renovations.
Putting Patients and Families First
To support healing and comfort, the hospital provides a variety of amenities for patients and their loved ones.
Patient rooms are spacious and private, with large windows that bring in natural light. Patients have control over their space, with controls for calling for assistance, as well as for Wi-Fi, TV, lighting, drapes, and temperature, easily accessible from their bed. Restaurant-quality food is available around the clock, with the patient’s dietary restrictions already factored into the menu options. And outdoors, beautiful gardens serve as a sanctuary, while still allowing patients to be carefully monitored.
Recognizing the important role of family and friends in a patient’s recovery, the hospital is designed to accommodate them as well. Patient rooms have ergonomically designed sleeper sofas, allowing family members to stay overnight. Private cellphone rooms are available in waiting areas, offering a quiet place to make calls without disturbing others. Dining areas provide nutritious meals and snacks 24 hours a day, along with alcoves for private conversation. And a Patient Information Center with kiosks enables patients, friends, and family to research and better understand diseases, diagnoses, treatment options, and clinical trials.
Even long-standing hospital procedures were re-evaluated to provide a better patient experience. For example, rather than separating newborns from their parents, whenever possible, newborns stay with their parents in labor and delivery suites, as well as in individual Neonatal Intensive Care Unit rooms. This allows more time for bonding, which research shows can positively influence a baby’s weight gain and growth rate, reduce time in the hospital and future complications, improve breastfeeding capability, and (especially important for premature infants) promote better body temperature regulation.
Building the Future
Building a hospital of this quality and magnitude was a massive undertaking, and was possible due to the generous support of friends in the community and of UT Southwestern physicians, through their commitment of revenues from the Faculty Practice Plan.
The hospital is named in honor of former Texas Gov. William P. Clements Jr., who in 2009 made a landmark $100 million contribution to the Southwestern Medical Foundation, the largest single gift in the foundation’s history. The funds were unrestricted, meaning they could be used for any purpose. But there was one stipulation – the gift must be used for something that would be “transformational” for UT Southwestern. The hospital does indeed have the transformative impact Gov. Clements envisioned.
Our recent expansion enables UT Southwestern to provide the most patient-centered care possible for its expanding base of local, regional, national and international patients, while driving innovations that advance outcomes, safety, and value.