Throughout Crawford Long’s new hospital and medical office
tower, the corridor lights are gentle. Long fluorescent bulbs are
shielded inside wide, A-shaped fixtures that diffuse the light and
spread it thorougly yet softly around the hallways.
The effect, when one is walking upright, is easy to miss. But imagine
being wheeled around on a gurney, lying face-up and staring at the
ceiling, anxious thoughts of an imminent and possibly quite invasive
medical procedure flying around one’s head. At a time like
that, small comforts go a long way.
That is the basic premise behind Crawford Long’s $270 million
redevelopment project, and it is evident in every square inch of
the new facility. Located between Peachtree and West Peachtree streets
in the heart of Midtown, the 20-story, 365,000-square-foot structure
opened July 29, and already patients around Atlanta are feeling
better in a variety of ways.
Let’s face it: No one likes to go the hospital. But no doubt
that anxiety is fueled in large part by stock images: coldly sterile
spaces tiled in unforgiving linoleum, outfitted with uncomfortable
furniture and boasting all the ambience of, well, a medical lab.
Crawford Long’s new facility shatters that stereotype. From
the moment one has one’s car valet-parked and enters the Nita
& J. Mack Conservatory, a yawning two-story atrium filled with
olive trees and dazzling sunlight, it is pleasantly apparent that
this is not a typical hospital.
“The Emory-Crawford Long redevelopment project is the first
step toward setting a new standard of health care in Atlanta,”
said John Henry, CEO of Emory Hospitals and Wesley Woods. “You
don’t realize the magnitude or the scope of the project until
you step foot inside.”
Those inside can already feel the difference. “We have the
best place in the world now,” said Peggy Duke, chief of anesthesiology.
Duke was one of many Crawford Long doctors who consulted with the
design team as it studied the best hospitals around the country
and the world. One of the main concepts that arose was the goal
of allowing as much natural light as possible into patient care
For example, through a pair of double-doors from Duke’s second-floor
pre-operative unit is a long, wide hallway flanked on one side by
the hospital’s surgical suites. On the other side are long,
tall windows, allowing sunlight to flood in as hospital surgeons
perform their delicate work. The effect is palpable; bright sunlight
is most assuredly not what springs to mind when one imagines invasive
Ergonomics is the rule throughout the building, as stylish, plush,
art deco-inspired furniture lines the many waiting rooms scattered
around units and floors. In the waiting areas on both floors and
at both ends of the conservatory, through which tantalizing aromas
waft from the first-floor dining services, friends and families
of patients are furnished with beepers that inform them when doctors
have news. There are public workrooms complete with Internet hookups
for laptop computers, private consultation rooms—including
several in the emergency department (ED)—and even a pantry
where guests can prepare their own food.
Speaking of the ED, fortunate is the patient brought in for emergency
care at this facility. Aside from state-of-the-art technology both
clinical and administrative—including huge computer screens
the size of ping-pong tables that allow ED staff to track both patients
and doctors—the new, 24,000-square-foot ED is more than three
times the size of Crawford Long’s previous department.
The ED is designed around three modalities of care—acute care,
express and clinical decision units—each with its own nursing
station. On a Thursday afternoon in mid-August, much of the ED (thankfully)
is empty, but even on the busiest of nights, patients will be treated
quickly; average wait time is roughly 30–45 minutes, according
to Linda Willis, a licensed practical nurse and temporary ED employee.
“When you have a state-of-the-art facility like this,”
Willis said, “it just changes people’s outlook. Everything
moves so much smoother. I love it.”
One aspect of the facility is that related services are logically
placed in physical proximity to each other. Hence, located on the
same floor as the ED is the radiology department, featuring a totally
digital environment that allows physicians to instantly view X-rays
and scans without having to wait for film. They can in turn transmit
the digital images anywhere they wish.
Upstairs on the third floor, the building’s women’s
services unit will allow Crawford Long to become a choice destination
for expectant and delivering mothers. The labor and delivery suite
features 11 delivery rooms and four triage rooms; the neonatal intensive
care unit (NICU) and special care nursery can accommodate 24 infants;
and the building’s only inpatient rooms can comfortably house
36 new mothers in individual spaces that more resemble plush hotel
suites than hospital rooms, with rich wood shelving and bathrooms
with real tile floors.
“The old NICU was crowded, and these bright [natural] lights
make all the difference,” said Angela Wilson, who gave birth
to triplets Trinity, Eddie and Edward on July 15. The babies, who
were born three months premature, likely will remain in the NICU
until October. “I come every day and feel very at home,”
Another floor up is Crawford Long’s renowned Carlyle Fraser
Heart Center, which houses the cardiac catheterization suite, the
cardiac observation center, the noninvasive procedural area and
the arrhythmia and heart failure therapy clinics—again, all
located next to each other, which was not the case with the center’s
“This is much more efficient,” said Laura Jacobson,
director of cardiology services.”
Things need to be efficient, since the Fraser Heart Center houses
the busiest positron emission topography (PET) scanning lab in the
country, if not the world. In the past
10 years, the center has performed more than 10,000 PET scans (averaging
nine a day), more than any other hospital in the United States.
The 16 floors above cardiology serve as office and clinical space
for Emory doctors as well as others. The entire concept is one of
a “vertical medical mall,” where most patients’
needs can be served simply by hopping on an elevator.
The new facility has been open only for a few weeks, and several
areas and labs are not yet finished. For example, a high-tech medical
training room/lecture hall on the fourth floor, scheduled to open
in October, will allow doctors to view surgeries live as they are
performed and even communicate with the doctors performing the procedure.
Indeed, the digital feed can be transmitted anywhere in the world.
In all, Crawford Long’s redevelopment project is one that
combines the latest in technological advance with the best in patient
service, from the excellence of its doctors and nurses, to the convenience
of its location in the heart of Atlanta, to the human touches that
simply make the facility a pleasant place to be.
“The design reflects our staff,” said Crawford Long
COO Albert Blackwelder. “They know better than ayone does
what it takes to make a hospital more efficient, not only for the
people who work here, but most importantly, for our patients and