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Irvine, Orange County: Leader in Patient Care

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

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By Bryan Starr, President and CEO, Greater Irvine Chamber
As published in the Feb. 15, 2021 issue of the Orange County Business Journal

Irvine is a well-established global leader in life sciences, innovation, and medical technology and manufacturing. With companies like Allergan, B. Braun, Biolase Technologies, Edwards Lifesciences, and Kahala Biosciences located in Irvine, and Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Bausch & Lomb, and Beckman Coulter close by, Orange County is a life science innovation hub and has been fairly described as the medical device capital of the world.

As reported right here in the pages of the Orange County Business Journal over the past several months, as we faced the Coronavirus head-on, numerous advancements in Irvine and Orange County have led our region to become a nerve center for the advancement of many life-saving technologies, treatments, and cures. And, with the expansion of healthcare systems in the greater Irvine area, the region is yet again emerging as a leader in another category.

Irvine is rapidly—and impressively—becoming a national leader in direct patient care, providing routine health management to treating the most serious ailments, making world-class health care easily accessible to Orange County residents.

Following the expansion one year ago with a 12,500-square-foot facility in Newport Beach, City of Hope will bring its highly specialized cancer care to more patients in Orange County at its planned $1 billion, 190,000-square-foot cancer treatment and research campus in Irvine. Opening in 2022 on 11 acres at FivePoint Gateway near the Orange County Great Park, City of Hope Orange County’s comprehensive cancer center will provide cancer care, phase I-III clinical trials, precision medicine, early detection and prevention programs, and more. Orange County’s only specialty hospital exclusively dedicated to treating and curing cancer is slated to open on the campus in 2025. The Irvine campus is the centerpiece of a regional network of cancer care that City of Hope is building in Orange County.

The National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is among the top 4% of cancer centers in the country. It is powered by more than 1,000 physicians and scientists whose expertise is estimated to benefit 100 million people worldwide each year. Numerous breakthrough cancer drugs were developed through technology pioneered by City of Hope. With three manufacturing facilities at City of Hope that manufacture biological and chemical compounds to strict industry standards, patients can access more life-saving discoveries faster.

University, California Irvine is emerging as a national leader in integrative medicine, combining the university’s medical research, prevention, and advanced diagnostics, treatment, and rehabilitation programs with a world-class, multidisciplinary team of UCI Health surgeons and oncologists.

Adding to its medical center in Orange, University of California, Irvine will build a new $1.2 billion UCI Medical Center Irvine-Newport as part of the university’s Irvine campus. The complex will include a 144-bed world-class hospital, and outpatient specialty medical and surgery facilities, and the UCI Health Center for Advanced Care. Portions of the complex are projected to open in 2022 and 2023, with completion of the hospital expected in 2025.

Additionally, UCI recently established its Institute for Future Health, which will combine research and clinical work to harness technology to build a personalized healthcare model. The institute will integrate lifestyle, community, environment, and socioeconomic factors in conjunction with biomedical and clinical knowledge to transform health systems to help patients minimize hospital and clinic stays and visits. There are already more than 40 projects underway at the institute, including a longitudinal study of environmental threats to public-health tracking using wearable technology.

A medical stalwart in Orange County for more than 70 years, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in late 2020 opened the Fudge Family Birthing Suites at Hoag Hospital Irvine. With modernized pregnancy, delivery, and recovery services, it features 12 birthing suites, a perinatal VR guided program, and an outdoor walking garden intended as a calming influence on expectant mothers. The maternity care suites offer the ability to labor, deliver, and recover in the same room. The facility also houses two C-section operating rooms, and a nursery staffed 24/7 by an expert team including OB/GYN hospitalists, certified nurse-midwives, and board-certified anesthesiologists and neonatologists.

The Irvine Planning Commission recently approved plans for a sweeping expansion at Hoag’s Irvine campus that will affirm its steady ascension as a global destination for medical excellence, unparalleled service, and patient-focused outcomes. Physician-led Centers of Excellence in cancer, women’s health, and digestive health will transform Hoag’s delivery of care to an integrated, specialized services-based model. The first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Hoag recently opened a COVID-19 Rapid Testing clinic at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport. In the coming months, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian will also open its 850-square-foot Fly Well Clinic inside JWA. There, Hoag will offer urgent care services, including office visits, telehealth consultations, vaccinations, treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, and prescriptions to the millions of passengers who travel through the airport each year.

In January of 2020, Hoag opened Hoag Health Center Foothill Ranch. The 45,000 square-foot facility clinically integrates health and wellness, merging traditional primary care with prescribed personalized wellness plans for overall health, including sleep, stress, nutrition, and exercise.

MemorialCare, the most extensive nonprofit healthcare system headquartered in Orange County with top hospitals, more than 200 care locations, and a vast network of 2,800 affiliated physicians in Orange and Los Angeles counties, has partnered with Physical Rehabilitation Network to operate 17 community-based, full-service physical therapy centers. The Orange County centers, including Irvine’s, provide physical, occupational, sports medicine, and other services to maximize movement potential and long-term wellness to speed recovery, decrease pain, and help patients return to active, healthy lifestyles.

MemorialCare recently acquired OC Blood & Cancer Care, a prominent, nationally recognized group of board-certified oncologists and hematologists treating cancer and blood diseases at MemorialCare Cancer Institute facilities and other Orange County locations. The acquisition expands MemorialCare Cancer Institute’s future growth opportunities and provides additional treatment programs and patient services.

MemorialCare’s ninth Breast Center is open in Huntington Beach. Including two in Irvine, these are among the most comprehensive breast cancer centers in Orange County. MemorialCare also expands its Orange County network with the addition of Doctors of Women, a group of board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists in Irvine, which will utilize Saddleback Medical Center as its preferred hospital for women’s services.

So, while the current focus is on COVID-19, our world-class healthcare systems continue to expand to meet our growing population’s healthcare needs and work to ensure that the best patient care, regardless of the health threat, is available in Orange County now and long into the future.

Category: OCBJ, Healthcare, Leaders Circle, Greater Irvine Chamber, Bryan Starr

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