Health Care and Real Estate

Health system Strives for personalized patient care

Spectrum Health offers tailored solutions, inviting environment through new facility.

July 14, 2017
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STR!VE's upscale lobby area is designed to make patients forget about the harsh fluorescent lighting and sparse features in some more traditional doctors’ offices. Courtesy Spectrum Health

The way people receive their health care is changing steadily. Through a new downtown facility, Spectrum Health is looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Last week, the Grand Rapids-based health system opened the doors at Strive, a primary care facility that blends the core tenets of a wellness center into its fabric. Housed on the ground floor of the Waters Center Building, 161 Ottawa Ave. NW, the 4,500-square-foot space includes four exam rooms, a wide-open lobby area and the atmosphere of a comfortable co-working space as opposed to the stiff, fluorescent washed grays typically associated with the doctor’s office.

“I hope when you walk in, you see it’s warm and inviting, feels like it has some energy to it because we want that space to be used by our members and we’re going to have classes out there,” Spectrum Health Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President Roger Jansen said. “That space is modular, we want to make sure that’s comfortable, something we can move around, but the big thing is we think one of the most personal relationships you can have is with the person who’s caring for you. So, the space should be conducive to making you feel comfortable and the clinician comfortable.”

For a $159 annual fee, patients can become a member of Strive and take advantage of the facility’s amenities, which include access to genome testing, a number of local clubs and organizations via Spectrum’s community partners and a personalized wellness plan tailored to their needs, in addition to full access to primary care physicians. The membership fee is not covered by insurance, but Strive providers accept a number of insurance types for their billable services.

“If you think about health care, people see a clinician on average for about 17 minutes per year,” Jansen said. “And there’s about 525,000 minutes in a year, so ‘health care’ is really only about ‘sick care’ — we’re touching you when you’re ill and when you’re injured, but we don’t touch you at any other point. And so Strive is really bridging that gap between where health care has been and where we want it to be a part of your daily life to optimize your health and well-being.”

Jansen said there are similar health care models in places like San Francisco, but those examples are rooted primarily in creating better access to wellness options. Strive sets itself apart through its comprehensive customization options and various partnerships expanding the offerings outside of the space, he added.

Strive has partnered with seven local wellness focused organizations, including the YMCA, MVP Sports Club, Allegro Coaching, Alger Bikes, Gazelle Sports, Grand Rapids Running Tours and GRIT Life. Member benefits include discounts off products and services to those businesses, as well as additional expertise in their service areas.

“While we might not have the world’s best advice on what shoes to wear for a 5K or a marathon, our partners might,” Jansen said. “We don’t own a farm or food, but there are a lot of people who do — so what if we can bring their foods into our members’ lives and help them understand what nutrition is right for them.”

Strive also is transforming the doctor-patient relationship. The exam room is designed to feel as welcoming as the lobby area, with large LCD screens hanging on the wall for the physicians to use as a visual aid. The room also doubles as the physician’s office, so a patient’s doctor never has to leave the room in the middle of an exam to grab some more paperwork or write something down.

Spectrum’s hope is the overall inviting nature of Strive and its additional benefits will encourage patients to visit the doctor even when they aren’t sick or injured, but to think of their health on a more linear plane with an added focus on prevention.

“My goal is to kind of oversee patients’ lifestyles and see where we can fit in to help prevent some of these diseases,” Strive doctor David Rosner said. “This is a place where we’re kind of resetting and restarting the traditional medical model and really start to look at the patient in terms of prevention rather than chronic disease states.”

Jansen said the key to Strive’s success is the educational component, keeping patients informed about their health and providing them with a comprehensive, customized plan via their genomic data that can work for them and be applied in their daily lives.

“(It’s sort of like) going from off-the-shelf to a tailored suit — make sure it’s the perfect fit for the patient,” Jansen said. “You can get by with an off-the-shelf, and that’s OK — but there are times where you want tailored, and this is a tailored solution to your health.”

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