December 10, 2004

Doctors’ Office Tower makes debut at VCH

Featured Image

Linda Thornton, the administrative assistant for Wallace Neblett, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery, unpacks boxes last Friday in the new pediatric surgery area of the Doctors’ Office Tower building.
photo by Dana Johnson

Doctors’ Office Tower makes debut at VCH

Three floors of the Doctors’ Office Tower at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will open Monday, Dec. 13.
photo by Neil Brake

Three floors of the Doctors’ Office Tower at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will open Monday, Dec. 13.
photo by Neil Brake

Three floors of the Doctors' Office Tower (DOT) at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt will open on Monday. Floors four, five and six — the first three floors to open — will be the new home to many of the pediatric outpatient clinics where about 180,000 children a year are treated.

Several of the clinics previously housed in other areas of Vanderbilt University Medical Center will move into the DOT, which is located within the Children's Hospital. The DOT sits atop the third floor of the Children's Hospital and is adjacent to the South Garage.

"The opening of the pediatric Doctors' Office Tower will join together all care for children at one integrated site to provide cohesive and comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services at a single location,” said Arnold Strauss, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of Children's Hospital.

Floors four through six will be in full operation Monday, Dec. 13, with the exception of a few areas. The faculty offices in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine will move to the fifth floor on Thursday, Dec. 16. In February 2005, faculty and clinical space in Pediatric Orthopaedics will move to the fourth floor and clinical space in Pediatric Allergy will move to the fifth floor.

"The impact on our patients and their families of having all of their pediatric care in one building is immeasurable. One can never underestimate the importance of convenience for a family at a critical time when health care is needed,” said John W. Brock III, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Pediatric Urology and Surgeon-in-Chief at Children's Hospital. “From a physician's standpoint, it will markedly improve our efficiency in being able to provide quality clinical care and to continue pursuing the missions of research and education."

According to Phyllis Ekdall, chief operating officer for Physician Practices at Children's Hospital, families visiting the DOT will be better prepared to reduce the anxiety of a child who may need to have surgery or additional testing.

“After their doctor's appointment, the family can visit with a staff member who is specially trained to familiarize the child with the hospital and their upcoming procedure,” Ekdall said. “This is an important convenience to those who may be traveling from several hours away.”

Beginning Monday, if people arrive at the Medical Center East garage, they'll be asked what kind of an appointment they are arriving for. If it's an appointment in a clinic that has been moved, they'll be immediately re-directed to the South Garage attached to Children's Hospital.

Construction on the outer shell of the DOT — which stands eight floors tall and is located on floors four through 11 — took place as the Children's Hospital was being built. Construction on much of the interior of the DOT began in mid-February, soon after the Children's Hospital opened. Construction for the interior of floors four, five and six cost $5.7 million, according to John Sparks, architect and project manager for Space and Facilities Planning.

Planning for the DOT coincided with that of the Children's Hospital to ensure convenience for patients and families seeking medical care, whether inpatient or outpatient. Ekdall estimates that at least 150 practitioners, staff, patients and families were involved in the design of the clinics.

Patients and their families will enter the DOT through a set of elevators at the South Garage entrance of Children's Hospital. Prescriptions can be filled at the outpatient pharmacy located on the second floor of the Children's Hospital, just steps from the South Garage entrance. Patients and their families are also encouraged to utilize the Junior League Family Resource Center for information about the child's illness or injury, also located on the second floor.

“We are very fortunate to have all these services in one building,” Ekdall said.

Each floor of the DOT was designed with a theme, although, unlike at the Children's Hospital, the themes do not serve as 'way finders.' The fourth floor has themed areas including trains, baby animals of Tennessee and dinosaurs. The fifth floor has a Tennessee mountains theme. The sixth floor has a rivers and water theme.

What's next?

Plans are still under way for what units will move into the spaces left vacated in the Medical Center by the consolidation of pediatric clinics in the DOT. These vacated spaces will be renovated and updated as part of ongoing efforts to renew VUH.

Currently the interiors of floors eight, nine and 11 in the new DOT are being built. Upon opening in the next several months, the 11th floor will house clinical administration offices and pediatric faculty offices. The VUMC Board of Trust has approved $5.3 million for construction costs, not including other costs, according to Sparks. Floors seven and 10 await funding.

Visit for more DOT information.