The Cancer Center in Bellevue Designed With Help From Cancer Survivors

Overlake Cancer Center aims to improve the cancer treatment experience

This article appears in print in the April 2018 issue, as part of the Top Doctors cover story. Click here to subscribe.

A cancer diagnosis is often overwhelming for patients, who must sort through treatment options, make appointments with various specialists, whom often have offices in different locations and better understand the treatment process. The Overlake Cancer Center at Overlake Hospital Medical Center, which opened in Bellevue last September, is focused on a more patient-friendly approach. 

At the new center, patients’ appointments with specialists—such as oncologists, surgeons, social workers, genetics counselors, dieticians and financial counselors—can be scheduled back to back and take place in the same room. These providers communicate with each other to coordinate the best individual plan of care for the patient, explains David Bonewitz, project manager for the center. 

Overlake developed the new center with the help of cancer survivors, their families and providers, who were actively involved in designing the center’s approach. Along with improved communication and convenience, patient comfort has also been considered. For example, patients now have the option to receive infusions in groups, with one other person or in private. Warmed robes and memory foam on mammogram screening machines increase patient comfort. 

And the center is offering cancer patients options such as massage therapy, acupuncture and naturopathic treatments. 

“Cancer is very clinical and scary,” says Dr. Kristi Harrington, cancer services medical director. “But when we can soften the edges and make it better, we try to do that.”

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