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Inside the newest addition to Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Nov 18, 2015   |   by Adam Sullivan   |   WCAX-TV

Next to the main entrance at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is the newest addition the sprawling Lebanon, New Hampshire, campus: the Williamson Translational Research Building.

"It is connected to the clinical programs, it is connected to the inpatient units, to the outpatient units, it is connected to the cancer center. It is connected to the other more basic research components of Dartmouth," Dr. Alan Green said. "And so this is an integrated function."

Integrated is a word that you will hear a lot around these parts. From the state-of-the-art pathology lab to the Connected Care Center, all aspects of health care are brought together under one roof to better serve patients.

"Part of doing that is delivering the right care to the right patient in the right bed at the right time," said Dr. Sarah Pletcher, the director of the Connected Care Center.

Increased communication capabilities for telemedicine are now located alongside DHART's recently moved dispatch center.

"Does that patient need to be transported to the facility, can we find a bed for that patient? That full one-stop shot," Pletcher said.

And that includes the development of medical devices of the future. Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering is expanding its footprint here, as well.

"Better tools to diagnose disease, better tools to treat disease, better tools to monitor disease," said Ryan Halter of the Thayer School of Engineering.

Dartmouth engineering research at WTRB
Engineers Kofi Odame (l) and Ryan Halter (r) have teamed up with cardiologist James DeVries (center) to develop a wearable device that can provide clinically relevant measurements of a patient’s daily cardiac health to help cardiologists provide better, more effective care. (Photo by Mark Washburn)

Halter has been focusing a lot of his work on prostate cancer.

"There are huge quality of life issues afterward, like erectile dysfunction. So we are trying to develop technology to improve a man's quality of life," Halter explained.

And in the lab, the research and diagnosis continues. It's a $104 million project. Pathologists say the facility gets a return on the investment by getting better outcomes while meeting an increased demand.

"The more we learn about genomics and our DNA and the genes involved in diseases, the more we see labs like this becoming more and more important to the health care system," said Greg Tsongalis, the director of the pathology lab.

The medical center began moving into the new building in September and that process is ongoing. Officials hope to be fully operational—or integrated, if you will—by the end of the year.

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