Designing the Health Care Experience

Arizona's cancer center designed with patients in mind

By Mayo Clinic Staff

"We've tried to make the finishes in all of our spaces friendlier and less clinical-looking," says Allison Matthews, a service designer for Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation.

A woman with cancer walks out of the desert and into the lobby bathed in natural light pouring in through a giant, two-story glass wall that curves behind her. The high ceiling echoes the curve as a wave of dark wood arcs across it and dives beneath lighter-colored wood — like the two elements are dancing, playing.

The woman proceeds through another doorway framed in glass. The elements repeat again and again as she walks through the new Mayo Clinic Building, Phoenix campus — in the waiting room framed in cream-colored wood with a matching reception desk that curves into corners; in the hallway with backlit glass walls painted with green leaves that appear to glow; in the exam room with curved wood cabinets and a dark wood desk that sweeps out of the wall in a half circle.

The experience is an affirmation of life and the power of healing design just at a time when she needs it. She's here for another round of intravenous chemotherapy and could use all the positive, soothing energy she can get. When she arrives in the treatment area, a glass wall overlooks the greens and browns of the alluring Arizona desert outside.

"We've tried to make the finishes in all of our spaces friendlier and less clinical-looking," says Allison Matthews, a service designer for Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation. "I think we've done a good job of that by making things look more airy and inviting. In Phoenix, for example, we've tried to use the colors of the desert so that everything ties in with the outside environment and doesn't seem so sterile."

The Mayo Clinic Building on the Phoenix campus is the latest example of Mayo's focused design to enhance the patient experience and encourage relationships. For instance, the building has larger rooms for doctor-patient consultations so that families and loved ones can attend. Designers placed check-in kiosks so that patients don't have to stand in line, a boutique to give people something to do between visits, and friends and family lounges to relax in.

"Human-centered design starts with the people you're designing for and ends with new solutions tailored to their needs," says service designer Matthew Moore.

Research indicates human-centered design accomplishes a host of goals integral to good care — it reduces long-term costs, reduces staff stress and fatigue, improves patient safety, and improves overall health care quality and patient satisfaction. But perhaps most important of all, it improves patient outcomes.

Concourse level

Radiation treatment

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy. IMRT is an advanced type of radiation therapy using photon or proton beams to conform to the target and precisely irradiate a tumor.
  • Brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is an internal radiation treatment that places the radioactive material right into or close to the tumor.
  • 3-D radiation therapy. This type of conformal radiation therapy uses a special computer to help shape the beams of radiation to match the shape of the tumor.
  • Proton beam therapy. In this external radiation treatment, the power of protons is released in higher doses than traditional radiation. This is possible because protons emit their maximum energy at their targeted stopping point — the tumor. For children, proton beam therapy offers curative treatment while sparing children's still growing bones and tissues.

Integrative medicine

Integrative medicine offers treatments that promote wellness and complement conventional medical care. Thanks to our benefactors, Mayo Clinic is expanding its integrative medicine practice to become a transformational leader. In the Milt Ward Integrative Medicine Suite, patients experience the healing benefits of massage, acupuncture, patient education and more.

First floor

  • Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. This specialty lab supports the services that reside in this building and the adjacent Mayo Clinic Specialty Building, including pediatric and adult oncology, surgery, cardiology, neurology, transplant, orthopedics, gynecology, ENT, breast clinic and endoscopy.
  • Patient Education and Research Center. Patients and families can learn more about medical conditions, healthy living, current medical research and clinical trials at the education center.
  • Pharmacy. This outpatient pharmacy is equipped with the latest technology and designed to maximize the patient experience through a private consultation room and future growth for patient-tailored programs
  • Transplant. The clinical support offices for the largest transplant center in the Southwest are located here.
  • Breast Center. Collaborative staff from many medical disciplines provide health care and timely, comprehensive evaluations of breast-related concerns.

Second floor

  • Endoscopy and bronchoscopy procedural suite. The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, along with the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, performs outpatient and inpatient procedures in six leading-edge rooms.
  • Outpatient surgery operating rooms. Three state-of-the-art operating rooms for surgical specialties, a laser room for ophthalmology, and 30 preoperative and postoperative rooms accommodate the latest in surgical equipment. This area also includes shelled space to accommodate future growth.
  • Pain Clinic. The expert pain team sees and manages chronic pain patients using proven techniques and procedures to alleviate pain.
  • Pain Rehab. This is a three-week outpatient program for those whose chronic pain has caused a significant decline in their functional abilities and quality of life.
  • Rehabilitation Services. Integrated treatment for patients with orthopedic, neurological or other complex conditions is provided in this team-based common rehabilitation space.

Third floor

Home of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center

As the only National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center with a national footprint, the center harnesses the efforts of over 240 Cancer Center faculty. The new facility integrates the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology with cancer services from prevention to survivorship.

The amenities include:

  • A patient education classroom
  • A business center to help guests keep pace with a busy world from the hospital campus
  • Boutique stores
  • A friends and family caregiver lounge
  • A 50-bay chemotherapy infusion unit designed to allow for tranquil natural lighting

Mayo Clinic's design starts with one goal in mind — serving the needs of our patients in the best way possible. Thank you for your support.