Kaiser Permanente recently opened a clinic in Ballard, designed from the bottom up for residents who call Ballard their home.
Trina Davis, medical director of innovation and business development for Kaiser Permanente Washington, and a family physician, said that Ballard people love Ballard and that Kaiser wanted to respect that as much as possible with the design of the clinic.
“Here at Ballard, when Kaiser decided that it would open a clinic in the Ballard neighborhood, we wanted to be really thoughtful and attentive to the location,” Davis said. “So we engaged in a process called ethnography, which is going above and beyond typical market research, doing intensive, in-depth interviews with over 100 people, and polling those members and bringing them into our design process.”
The ethnography process confirmed that Kaiser would be moving into a neighborhood passionate about local sights and culture.
“One of the main things we heard in all of that research was how important it was… that we show up in a way that was authentic to Ballard,” she said. “We want to be attentive and sensitive and not come in like a big corporate brand, trying to just copy and paste an experience. Everything from the art on the wall, which is all local Ballard sights, to the color scheme were all informed by the place where we are.”
According to a press release announcing the clinic’s opening, Kaiser members will have personalized choices for the care patients will receive, with access to lab services, radiology, pharmacy, physical therapy, mental health, chiropractic care, obstetric, pediatric and primary care all on one campus.
The Ballard clinic is located on the fifth floor of the Ballard Blocks 2 retail complex at 1401 NW 46th Street in Seattle.
“This clinic was built to meet the needs of Ballard and nearby neighborhoods,” said Dr. Hannah Burdge, Chief of the Ballard Medical Center, in the press release. “As a resident of this neighborhood, I’m so proud to be part of the team bringing Kaiser Permanente medicine to this community, to serve current and welcome new members.”
Davis explained how the typical patient journey would progress starting even before a patient enters the clinic.
Before each appointment, patients can receive a digital bar code that they can conveniently scan upon arrival to check in. There is also a patient access representative available to check-in the old fashioned way, but Davis said the point is to give members the option.
“You come in, you check in and you take a seat,” Davis said. “Within a couple minutes, your healthcare guide would come and get you.”
Davis said that a health care guide is a new role at the Ballard Clinic.
“It is like an advanced medical assistant,” she said. “It’s someone who has all the skills to room you and take your blood pressure and all that, but they also have some training in health coaching and system navigation.”
This means that if a person’s doctor says they need to eat less salt, the healthcare guide will sit down with a patient and explain what foods have a high amount of salt in them and make a plan for follow-up care.
The next stop on the patient journey is the rooms that the guide will take the patients to.
“In this exam room… our chair is also a scale, so you don’t have to go out in your gown and get weighed in front of a bunch of other people,” Davis said. “You just sit down, they push a button and we tell you how much you weigh.”
The rooms each have a large screen in them where the guides will sync their laptops to while writing in each patient’s chart. This way, each patient can see in real time what is being input into the system about their visit.
The screen can also be used to bring up educational materials or be used to help children feel more comfortable in the exam room.
“We curated five videos of local natural things to entertain kids while they are waiting,” Davis said. “So we’ve got footage from the Woodland Park Zoo of the baby giraffe. We’ve got footage of the Seattle Aquarium with the otters playing. Just things that are interesting and entertaining, but not like over stimulating.”
Then, when the provider comes in, the guide will perform a warm hand-off and detail what the patient came in for and the concerns of the patient all while the patient is sitting and observing. Once the provider finishes up, there will be another warm hand-off back to the guide to facilitate the patients’s care plan.
Call 206-397-5360 for more information.