When the public arrives next weekend for Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel's much anticipated open house, they will see a health care facility designed to appeal to all their senses.
Everything — from the nature photography on the walls, to the scent of fresh basil growing in the gardens, to the soft hum of "white noise" pumped throughout the entire hospital — was chosen to alleviate stress for patients and their families.
"Every detail we put into this facility really has the patient and their healing in mind," CEO Brian Adams said.
Some of the touches are subtle: soothing words etched into the glass of the three-story atrium. Others — like the murals of fish and sea turtles in the children's waiting room — are eye-catching.
The hospital's exclusive use of ambient light technology is a first in the Tampa market. Four of the hospital's 18 emergency room suites are outfitted with lighting systems that can be customized to each patient's preference.
With the tap on the touch screen, the room can be flooded with soft blue light and images of dolphins swimming on the walls — or purple light with a rainforest scene, or cartoons for kids.
"Studies have shown that when they're in the ambient environment, children need less pain medication," Adams said. "It's also soothing for confused adults."
Bob Ingram, director of emergency services, said the hospital has completely changed its process for admitting ER patients so there's less waiting and filling out forms. Patients are admitted bedside, and mobile X-ray machines can be used in any of the emergency suites.
"We don't want to do anything to delay their care," Ingram said. "Even though I have two triage rooms, if I can get them back here right away I want to do that. Nobody's doing it quite like us."
The same ambient lighting is also utilized for patients undergoing MRI (magnetic resolution imaging) tests.
Patients can even plug their iPods into the room's speaker system to jam out to their own music while waiting for the exam.
Dr. Tedd Cardoso, the hospital's chief of staff, said Florida Hospital's MRI machine, developed by Philips, features a magnet that's 30 times stronger than the Earth's core.
"It means that an MRI that used to take 15 minutes can be done in a few seconds," he said. "It can also detect very tiny breast cancers or prostate cancers that wouldn't show up on a typical MRI."
The new hospital utilizes the most state-of-the-art technology on the market to reduce health care costs, Adams said.
"The highest cost care is usually the result of delayed diagnosis," he said.
"This technology allows us to catch things earlier and to do things that you might otherwise have had to do with an invasive procedure."
Operating rooms employ 56-inch, high-definition monitors instead of the standard 27-inch screen. Even the soap dispensers have computer chips to record how often nurses wash their hands.
Each of the hospital's 83 rooms has a 42-inch smart television, a computer desk and sleeping accommodations for family members.
"Unlike most hospitals, we don't place any restrictions on visiting hours," spokeswoman Tracy Clouser said.
In the maternity ward on the third floor, the rooms come equipped with their own private Jacuzzi bathtubs. Nurses can monitor expectant mothers' vital signs with a wireless system that allows patients to move around.
Each room has a view of one of the hospital's lush healing gardens.
"This hospital has been 10 years in the planning and 22 months in the making," Adams said. "It represents more than $150 million capital investment, and we're less than two months from seeing our first patient."