The New Henry Ford Cancer Institute: Building a Place of Hope for Cancer Patients

“Your environment can be the catalyst to an organization’s ability to provide world-class healthcare”, said Dr. Lorissa MacAllister, President, and Founder of Enviah.

“A new building is a significant initial investment; however, it is merely 10% of the life of the building cost. This investment needs to embrace the operations, projected to be at least a 25% improvement by consolidating all services to one location of the organization, from patient care to staff efficiency to achieve decades of growth and success.  The new Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion does just that.  The leadership team set this vision in 2017, and today it is now a reality.  Building a world-class cancer institute to deliver, hope, confidence, innovation, humanism, and healing to all who enter the doors.”

Photo courtesy of SmithGroup and Justin Maconochie Photography.

On January 20th, the Enviah team celebrated the grand opening of the Henry Ford Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion. As the new facility opens, our team looks back on the impact of strategic consulting work. As a project that began in 2016, the idea of the pavilion became a 187,000 square foot facility revolutionizing cancer treatment through the creation of an innovative healing environment. Through strategic planning, committed to patient-centered care, this facility is a beacon of hope for all patients, loved ones, and staff.

Enviah and SmithGroup worked to design this facility to respond to patient experience data in order to create a more effective care experience for both patients and for the health of the organization. The Enviah team operated as a visualizer of change to ideate clearly defined goals that would be translated into direct outcomes for the highest possible return for Henry Ford. A substantial portion of the work was to develop strategies to improve overall satisfaction and becoming a national healthcare leader in the cancer treatment field.

As strategic consultants, Enviah was dedicated to ensuring that the environment and operations of the new facility would support the overall goals of the Henry Ford Health System. Working to deliver on the commitment of patient-centered care, five total goals were outlined for the business outcomes of the facility: Hope, Confidence, Innovation, Humanism, and Healing.



Hope is the foundation for improved health and wellbeing during a patient’s cancer journey (Salander et al., 2014). Building relationships are one of the primary components of how hope is established and maintained. Upon every encounter within the new building, patients can interact with survivors and build a network of support. Enviah and SmithGroup worked to create the building design and operations to afford various opportunities to meet, connect, engage and learn together. These relationships are interpreted through top box patient satisfaction scores, and as such, they improved for this facility.



The dedicated building that includes all services and specialties needed for cancer journey The spaces anticipate needs such as restrooms close to care spaces and the first floor within the entry You feel as safe as you do in your own home, resulting in top box satisfaction outcomes improving the current likelihood to recommend scores by 50%.



Survivorship plans and response time is crucial to cancer care.  Integrating diagnostic spaces that provide same-day services and access to the latest imaging and genomic precision medicine will enhance the speed to treat, making every moment count for patients and their families. Enviah seamlessly integrated these innovative multidisciplinary processes into the operations and the building environment by increasing capacity by 40% to allow for rapidly assessing and communicating customized care plans with the newly diagnosed.



Rethinking the journey of cancer care, Enviah led the operational visioning and process creation to ensure all aspects of the patients’ needs were accommodated, including those outside of scheduled visit times. The implementation of integrated urgent care customizes a solution and reduces the utilization of unplanned emergency room visits and manages the care more effectively (Hong et al., 2019). Creating after-hours access by providing an Urgent Care OncoStat Clinic allows the patient to receive the most customized care needed even after regular business hours.



Healing is about patient satisfaction during the process, regardless of the ultimate outcome. Providing an environment of healing that is soothing, creates opportunities for respite and encourages a sense of personal wholeness was a substantial motivator when designing this facility. Enviah facilitated the initial conversation to envision how to incorporate healing into their environment and putting all services under one roof to gain access. The consolidation of the Cancer Pavilion includes nutrition, integrative medicine, ExCITE (Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapy Education Program), and reflection rooms, integrating nature to care spaces with artwork and access to rooftop terraces to reduce stress and anxiousness in the journey.


“The work that was accomplished by Enviah, SmithGroup, and Henry Ford Health Systems is transforming cancer care,” said Dr. MacAllister.

Photo courtesy of SmithGroup and Justin Maconochie Photography.

The aim of every Henry Ford Health System service will take place with the understanding that at the heart of it all, there is a person who is struggling with a tough diagnosis. This recognition that there is a person, with unique wants and needs, being cared for with the most advanced medicine available will be the cornerstone of the design process for both the physical environment and new operational processes. The Brigitte Harris Cancer Center Pavilion uses precision medicine and a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare where medical decisions, practices, and products are tailored to the individual patient. The ability to supply a single space for patients and families to come to will help ease transition processes and create an environment that feels familiar and safe throughout their healing journey. Not only do these practices create better outcomes for patients, but they also create the highest return on investment for organizations that engage in holistic transformation.

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Pär Salander, Mirjam Bergknut & Roger Henriksson (2014) The creation of hope in patients with lung cancer, Acta Oncologica, 53:9, 1205-1211, DOI: 10.3109/0284186X.2014.921725
Hong AS, Froehlich T, Clayton Hobbs S, Lee SJC, Halm EA. Impact of a cancer urgent care clinic on regional emergency department visits. J Oncol Pract. 2019;15(6):e501–e509. DOI: 10.1200/JOP.18.00743.