Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health Care, welcomed the community to a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of the Eastowne expansion project on Tuesday, April 16.

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Dr. Wesley Burks, UNC Health Care CEO (Credit: Tom Fuldner)

“The mission of UNC Health Care is to promote the health and wellbeing for the people of North Carolina and we take that very seriously,” Burks said. “In doing that, we want to provide the highest quality health care, as close to home as possible, at an affordable price with a really good patient experience. This building today is a big part of our process of trying to do this over the next few years for the state of North Carolina.”

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Dr. Cristin Colford, Vice Chair of Clinical Services, participated in the Eastowne groundbreaking ceremony (Credit: Tom Fuldner)

The six-story, 150,000-square-foot Eastowne building and parking structure is scheduled to open in 2020. The building will house specialty practices such as cardiology, pulmonary, endocrinology, hematology and more. There will be a urology clinic, outpatient imaging and laboratory. Other amenities will include a café kiosk and retail pharmacy.

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Department Chair Dr. Ron Falk attended the Eastowne ceremony. (Credit: Tom Fuldner)

Designing Spaces for Multidisciplinary Care

The department of medicine is working on a variety of aspects for this project, including staffing and space allocation. This provides an opportunity to create spaces to accommodate multi-disciplinary work, to have a greater ambulatory presence concentrated in one building, to facilitate collaboration and be more patient-centric.

“This is not simply a relocation­, the department of medicine will be doing things differently,” said Linda Raftery, Vice Chair of Administration.  “Our efforts are dovetailed with those of ambulatory leadership, and we have representation on multiple work teams to include scheduling and kiosk check in, with a redesigned care team model that can improved provider support, and communications strategies.”

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Rendering of a patient room.

“We will flex the use of space, but have designated initial space of the specialties and are co-locating physician based services on two floors, and hospital based on the remaining four floors. The on-stage, off-stage concept is employed throughout the facility, and each ‘pod’ is designed similarly to facilitate the flexing of space. For several weeks in July, we will have an opportunity to visit a full mock up of the interior work space.”

The project is part of a wider expansion across the Triangle by UNC Health Care aimed at improving care and access for our patients and their families.

The Eastowne medical office building is the first phase of a larger redevelopment of the 48-acre site at the intersection of I-40 and US 15-501, which is currently undergoing a comprehensive master planning process with the Town of Chapel Hill. The goal is to relocate more outpatient services from the congested main campus at UNC Medical Center to a setting with easier parking and access. The Eastowne master plan partnership is expected to result in a visionary transformation of a gateway used by thousands of residents, employees and visitors every day.

Learn more about the project at www.unceastowne.org.