THE CLINICAL SUPPORT AND RESEARCH CENTRE (CSRC)
Submitted by Leslie-Ann Drummond
We’ll soon be announcing our chosen construction partner for our new hospital, but we're just getting ready to start the search for a developer for our Clinical Support and Research Centre (CSRC). That’s because the CSRC, or Phase 1B of the New St. Paul’s Hospital Project, has a separate budget, business plan, timelines and even construction partner than the hospital (Phase 1A).
Think of the CSRC as our hub for innovation, discovery, learning and research at the new St. Paul’s Hospital health campus. “It’s where we’ll bring together our physicians, patients, researchers, leadership and corporate team, as well as industry and academic partners and startups, to work side by side advancing patient care. It’s our place to problem solve, innovate and bring medical breakthroughs from bench to bedside and even into the marketplace,” says Dr. Darryl Knight, Vice-President, Research and Academic Affairs for Providence Health Care, and one of the CSRC’s champions.
“The CSRC will also serve an important role in what we want to achieve for patients at our new campus,“ says Dr. Jeff Pike, Physician Director, Clinical Planning for the New St. Paul’s Hospital Project and also a CSRC champion. “And that’s a new model of care that’s less siloed, more patient-centred and integrated, which delivers the right care in the right place at the right time.”
Although still preliminary, our plans for the CSRC include two buildings — one for our research and corporate services staff with a conference centre, and one for medical staff offices and a daycare. Both will have space for strategic industry partners and commercial tenants.
The two buildings will connect to each other and link to the hospital via the outpatient care centre. As Dr. Pike notes: “It’s important physicians and researchers are close to each other and to patients, and because the CSRC is next to the hospital it’s just a short walk for everyone.”
The new St. Paul’s Hospital and CSRC could be a significant provincial and national resource. Both Dr. Pike and Dr. Knight agree there isn’t any other place in Canada able to match, in the foreseeable future, what we’re planning. Especially since our new neighbourhood has been designated as Vancouver’s ‘health innovation precinct’.
“Having all these minds in one place innovating, collaborating and creating could massively magnify the value we generate,” says Dr. Pike. “Imagine the upside — improved health outcomes, a better patient experience, greater value for health dollars, more discoveries with a global impact, and the creation of companies and jobs. Plus, it would amp up our ability to attract and keep even more top talent.”
“I often refer to the CSRC as our ‘nexus’ for transformational research that will connect all the players making our ability to solve medical problems much greater than the sum of all our parts,” emphasizes Dr. Knight. “There’s a saying ‘never waste a good crisis’ and COVID-19 has certainly been a galvanizing force provincially to usher in a new era of collaboration and teamwork. We have an opportunity to create something really special that maximizes idea sharing, flexibility, nimbleness and team collaboration.”
“Our intention is to have the CSRC’s design promote flexibility and collaboration,” adds Dr. Knight. “We’re planning to have state-of-the-art core facilities, a biobank and data centre which clinicians, researchers and even our industry partners could use. There will be generic lab space for any type of research plus dedicated lab space with specialized equipment. But as a research guy, it’s the new Innovation Centre that could really be a game changer for us. We’re giving lots of thought to how we can make this space the nucleus of the CSRC, where ‘big bang’ ideas happen.”
The plan, at this early stage, is to have the CSRC’s Innovation Centre located centrally, between its two buildings. It may have an ‘incubator sandbox’ space where teams can build prototypes to test or scale an idea, and possibly resources to help fund, market and commercialize medical advancements. There will be spaces for formal or ad hoc meetings plus an informal dining area.
Dr. Pike emphasizes, “The Innovation Centre is still at the conceptual stage but it's intended to draw researchers out of their labs and physicians out of their offices into a space that inspires creativity, discovery, conversation and teamwork with each other and with any and all of the CSRC’s industry tenants. In other words, it’s a place to break down the traditional silos, because often the best collision of ideas happen over beer or coffee.”
In terms of ‘right care, right place’ we’ll create more capacity in the hospital by using the CSRC to see a different, but still related, type of patient. The hospital will be used for acute care patients and the outpatient care centre for those needing post-acute care or who have unstable chronic disease. These patients benefit from a multi-disciplinary team approach. But once a patient has graduated to stable living with their chronic disease or just needs general care they’ll visit their physician’s medical office in the CSRC for one on one consults as part of the continuum of care.
We expect to submit the CSRC’s business plan to government in spring 2021 and construction could start in 2023. The Functional Program was recently finished which details the types and number of spaces we need. And we’re ready to start the search for a developer who will help us design, build, and find tenants for the buildings.
“This is an exciting time to be talking about how we can design space and embed innovation to support our work,” concludes Dr. Pike. “It’s certainly not going to be easy and will take imagination. But we have plenty of brilliant minds here, and this is our opportunity, and responsibility, to challenge the status quo.”
Send any questions about our project to TheNewStPauls@ProvidenceHealth.bc.ca.
Updated July 2021.