The Region’s Dedicated Heart Hospital

Best-in-Class Medical Operations

One of the main goals of The University of Tennessee Medical Center is to continually improve its facility, providing best-in-class medical operations to serve our growing community’s needs. One way we do this is by expanding the services of the six Centers of Excellence – and in 2018, this meant opening an expansion to the Heart Hospital.

The addition resulted in five new floors, allowing the medical center to expand its inpatient services and improve capacity in its ACS-verified Level I Trauma Center, the only one of its type in Knoxville.

Designing a facility so that our patients’ medical services are all in one place isn’t just convenient – it can also improve patient health. This research-based concept was a driving factor behind the recent expansion of the Heart Hospital tower.

“Studies have shown that integrating services improves our patients’ outcomes,” said Jeanne Wohlford, vice president of the medical center’s Heart Lung Vascular Institute. It does this, in part, by maximizing the services’ efficiency and effectiveness and improving patient safety. It also improves overall patient satisfaction.

The addition, which adjoins the front of The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s main Knoxville campus, was built with input from physicians, nurses, health care specialists and patients. Rooms were designed with soothing colors, adjustable lighting and comfortable sofa beds for family members to spend the night.

The waiting areas at all levels have been improved to reduce stress and accommodate needed breaks. Built-in snack areas make it easy to grab a bite. The cafeteria also delivers meals by request during certain hours, reducing time away from family.

These factors – reducing stress, increasing social interaction and improving access to privacy – have been shown to help patients heal.

Crucial to the success of the design concept is having doctors, nurses and other medical staff dedicated to working exclusively with cardiovascular disease patients by using a multidisciplinary approach for care and treatment.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

The coordination of care at the Heart Hospital includes a close proximity and ease of access for physicians and staff between the medical center’s cardiovascular intensive care unit, pulmonary unit (opening in 2019), cardiac catheterization center, operating rooms, emergency department and UT LIFESTAR.

With the expansion, four additional units are now housed alongside these other units, increasing access and furthering opportunities for care across departments and teams. These units are:

  • Cardio-thoracic unit
  • Medical interventional cardiology unit
  • Vascular surgery
  • Transplant unit

Other additions to the Heart Hospital include; a new Neuro Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Women’s and Infants unit and the Pulmonary unit slated to open in summer of 2019.

“If you look at the way we’ve structured the heart tower, our services are integrated both horizontally and vertically,” said Wohlford. “Horizontal integration means all the services are on one floor; vertically means they’re located on different floors in the same building.”

This setup makes it easy for physicians and team members to move between the medical center’s cardiovascular intensive care unit, cardiac catheterization center, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, operating rooms, emergency department and UT LIFESTAR.

“The Heart Hospital is a modernized facility equipped with the latest technological advances to help us deliver optimal care for our patients,” said Joe Landsman, CEO of the medical center.

“The University of Tennessee Medical Center has a rich history of utilizing evidence-based practices to ensure that we’re delivering the highest quality of care available, and the Heart Hospital represents that commitment to our patients.”

Read the Heart Hospital's Feature in Frontiers


Growing to Meet the Need