Akron General Medical Center, Akron, OH, has opened its third LifeStyles Health and Wellness Center, this time in the Akron suburb of Green, OH. The hospital plans more centers in the future, according to Doug Ribley, vice president of health and wellness services at Akron General LifeStyles.

The Emergency Department, which was the first phase of the 100,000-square-foot facility, opened in March, but the 42,000-square-foot fitness center portion of the facility opened July 9 with 1,300 members in pre-sale, Ribley says.

The facility includes sports medicine, physical therapy and sports performance programs, cardio and strength areas, four pools and a 4,000-square-foot conference center.

The next phase of the project will include a three-story, 35,000-square-foot medical office building that will open next year and a critical care helipad.

Despite having three facilities surrounding Akron General Medical Center now, the organization has plans for more LifeStyle centers, Ribley says.

“This is core to who we are and our strategic plan,” Ribley says. “We are not adding beds to the health system. We are making sure that the beds we have are the best with great nurses and physicians and technology. But our investment, in addition to making sure the medical center is the best, is to develop these health and wellness centers so that they are designed to keep people out of beds.”

As the organization has added more facilities, it has gotten better and more efficient at doing so, Ribley says. The facilities offer a full outpatient continuum of care where patients are diagnosed, treated through a full-standing emergency department, and then rehabilitated through physical therapy, sports medicine, cardio pulmonary rehab and a whole range of clinical rehab services. The system also helps prevent disease and injury through the Lifestyle Centers. The facilities are overseen by physicians through a medical director and a medical advisory board.

The Lifestyles Centers also are completely shared environments with the outpatient, rehabilitation component, Ribley says, which means a complete blend of patients and members.

“As we build these, one of the reasons we are so successful is that we have created an efficient model,” Ribley says. “We are able to provide more with less dedicated space.”

As a result, the overhead associated with the construction cost and the building cost of occupying space has been cut, as administrators have created space adjacencies and unique design features that allow the centers to handle significant numbers and serve the community while not requiring as much square footage as most standalone centers.