New HealthEast clinic opens in Vadnais Heights

From the ground up, it brings our patients’ wish list to life

How often do you get the chance to reshape the place where you and your family get your health care? The patients at our HealthEast Clinic in Vadnais Heights did. Starting July 30, they’ll have a brand new clinic based on their ideas.

Improvement starts with asking questions

Pondering what it would take to create an exceptional experience, the clinic’s medical director, Elizabeth Wegner, MD, embraced the idea of directly asking patients what they wanted. Several clear trends emerged from the survey.

“Patients wanted a roomier, more inviting welcome space with natural lighting and child-friendly areas,” Dr. Wegner says. “More privacy was desired for things like getting weighed or having blood drawn. And people wanted to know what new technology might be available.”

Two things that patients seemed the most passionate about were additional space inside – so larger families could sit together more comfortably – and additional parking outside. 

“People wanted a more user-friendly experience,” clinic manager Teresa Bettger says, “but we felt like we couldn’t do that because we had outgrown our current location.”

So HealthEast leaders decided to build a new clinic from the ground up – a place dedicated to letting those great patient ideas take root.

“To the best of our knowledge, no other local health care system offers all of the features that our new Vadnais Heights location will,” Dr. Wegner says.

Turning patient recommendations into reality

The planning team took all the survey ideas into a weeklong, hands-on workshop, literally trying to build all the desired features into a new clinic layout.

Clinic employees cut out life-size cardboard pieces and moved them around like a puzzle to see what would work. Then the cardboard cut-outs were transformed into real equipment and technology for a model exam room built at the clinic’s existing location.

One feature of the new rooms is a special chair that weighs you when you sit on it, then converts into an exam table. No more traipsing out into the hallway and having passersby watch you being weighed.

Employees spent several months practicing in the model room and working on more improvements.

Dr. Wegner likes that the design encourages quality interaction with patients: “Our new rooms were deliberately planned for me to face my patient during our time together. I’ve found that better eye contact leads to increased conversation. And it’s especially helpful when it comes time to review imaging results on the larger, in-room computer monitors we now have.”

Thinking differently makes the difference

But it’s not just the physical space of the clinic that will be different. It’s the patient’s entire experience from the moment they walk in.

“A bigger welcome area allows for patient privacy and comfort. And a new process strives to get patients who aren’t feeling well into a room right away,” says Chantel Robinson, a lab tech who served on the planning team. “Blood draws are taken in the patient’s own room, so no one else can see or hear anything. The rooms are multi-purpose, so no one has to move to a different location for a special procedure.”

“This all is happening because we were willing to really examine what we do and how we do it, and think outside the box.”

What should patients know?

  • The new location is 480 Highway 96 East -- only 1.4 miles from the current location.
  • Our 10 family doctors, three of whom provide prenatal and maternity care, are moving to the new clinic.
  • Hours will be extended – another patient request. The clinic will be open until 7 p.m. on Mondays. 
 Appointments are being booked now, and you’re invited to our community open house on Saturday, Sept. 29. To learn more, click here.

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