Why Mount Sinai isn't waiting 4 years to launch its new cancer center's initiatives

While the new Tisch Cancer Hospital at New York City-based Mount Sinai Hospital will not officially open completely until 2027, new "patient-centric" treatment initiatives, inspired by the promise of the state-of-the-art facility, are already being added to protocols at the Tisch Cancer Center.

Two cancer experts have been hired to lead the new Tisch Cancer Hospital: Cardinale Smith, MD, PhD, was appointed chief medical officer and vice president of cancer clinical affairs and Ash Tewari, MD, was appointed surgeon-in-chief.

Dr. Smith will oversee clinical operations and inpatient oncology units at the hospital and throughout the Mount Sinai health system, adding she will be "responsible for the patient's journey from start to finish." Dr. Tewari will oversee surgical oncology at the new hospital in addition to doing departmental research and teaching missions.

"We are literally taking care of thousands of cancer patients right now," Dr. Tewari told Becker's. "While we wait for the new building, the care is already going on. Even without the new physical structure, every part of our new protocols can start functioning today because patients are here."

By 2025, Dr. Smith said she expects half the building will be completed and her team will begin to see patients there. When the full hospital is completed in 2027, Mount Sinai's cancer care operations will move there.

The new four-floor hospital will have 72 single-bed patient rooms and will feature several clinical spaces to ease patient transitions between stages of cancer treatment. 

She said that among other initiatives, two new programs that will be fully operational when the new building opens are far along in the development process and are being piloted. 

Mount Sinai at Home is especially helpful for cancer patients, Dr. Smith said, as they are now able to be discharged from the hospital sooner after treatment. 

"[This includes] some populations of patients, for example, who have historically been admitted for certain types of chemotherapy and then had to stay in the hospital until their white blood cell counts rise before they are discharged," she said. "Now we are doing a discharge to home where they're continuing their hospitalization at home. They still get hospital-level care by the clinicians who are already caring for them but in their own homes."

Similarly, Mount Sinai oncologists are piloting an initiative that allows patients who receive novel cancer therapies, including Car T treatment or Bispecific T-cell Engager technology, to do remote patient monitoring.

"These therapies have a high risk of toxic side effects, including Cytokine release syndrome," Dr. Smith said. "Now we are able to send these patients home and monitor their vital signs while they're in the home setting. If anything were to happen, we could bring them in right away."

In addition to leading these pilot programs, the leaders are part of the development of the new hospital, which Dr. Smith said will be patient-focused. "There will be a lot of glass that brings light into the space; it will be like bringing the outside in," she said. 

The new building also will offer amenities such as meditation and art therapy as well as wellness spaces.

Most hospitals are designed and constructed with a focus on meeting the needs of the hospital staff. In the case of Tisch Cancer Center, however, "We are really thinking through to figure out how we design this hospital to meet the needs of the patients and their loved ones who are managing and dealing and living with this illness," Dr. Smith said.

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