Integrating Genomics into Primary Care: The First of Its Kind
Sanford Health had a novel idea — embed medical geneticists and genetic counselors within an adult medical clinic to improve health and prevent disease through personalized care. With a $125 million gift from South Dakota businessman Denny Sanford, Sanford Imagenetics was born. To bring this vision to life, we worked with Sanford Health and their partner, the University of South Dakota, to design a unique facility that fosters connections among clinical and research teams and provides the necessary space for education and training.
Sanford Imagenetics is one of the first personalized medicine programs to focus primarily on adult patients and combine genetic and molecular screening, informatics, counseling and primary care. With the addition of research and education, Imagenetics is a hub for doctors, researchers and other medical staff to translate genetic code and identify adults at risk for certain diseases while also creating smarter, more effective treatments for patients who are already ill.
Key features of Sanford Imagenetics include:
- 60 exam rooms were designed to flex for a variety of uses, including physician visits, genetic counseling, dietician counseling and nursing.
- Medical genomics laboratory equipment and staff are consolidated into a larger, more efficient laboratory space. Counselors situated adjacent to diagnostics are available for detailed consultations with physicians or patients.
- Dialysis has expanded from 19 to 28 stations. This expansion eases access for, on average, 45 patients per day who receive three to four hours of dialysis treatment.
- The Medical Genetics Laboratory was relocated to this facility, allowing for growth for its two divisions, cytogenetics and molecular genetics, which perform diagnostic testing for genetic disorders and cancer syndromes.
- A glass-enclosed, two-story interior courtyard is the focal point of the new building. This multifunctional space acts as a transition zone for patients, clinicians, families and scientists. Balconies run the length of the second floor with views to the open space below. Because its main staircase includes seating, the courtyard doubles as a large assembly area for Sanford’s community lecture series.
- The two clinical buildings are located on either side of the courtyard, arranged around a sky-lit winter garden for educational outreach. Uniquely situated on the USD campus, the goal is for the facility to become a major site for training a new multidisciplinary genetics and genomics workforce amidst a national shortage of physicians and nurses. The partnership in education includes the Sanford School of Medicine, USD and Augustana College.
- Flexible-use meeting rooms can be reconfigured into smaller meeting spaces, and are fully-equipped with teleconference equipment for remote teaching and conferencing. Shared work areas for graduate students and residents promote integration with clinicians.
- The patient experience is greatly enhanced in the new facility with on-stage/off-stage design, self-navigation for rooming and ample space in patient rooms for patients and their caregivers.