May 17, 2022

UW Health breaks ground on Eastpark Medical Center

A rendering of the new UW Health Eastpark Medical Center
A rendering of Eastpark Medical Center, scheduled to open in 2024

State-of-the-art facility will transform patient experience, offer cutting-edge proton therapy

Madison, Wis. ‒ UW Health broke ground today on its Eastpark Medical Center, a state-of-the-art new facility on Madison’s east side.

This 469,000-square-foot ambulatory facility will house many specialties, including women’s complex care, adult cancer care, advanced imaging and laboratory services and innovative clinical trials. It will be located across from East Madison Hospital and UW Health Rehabilitation Hospital on Eastpark Dr. and is slated to open in 2024.

This is a momentous step forward, driving us toward the future of patient care in Wisconsin, according to Dr. Alan Kaplan, CEO, UW Health.

“Eastpark Medical Center will usher in a new model for excellence in patient care and a new vision for transforming the patient and family experience,” Kaplan said. “The world-class clinicians, life-saving therapies, cutting-edge technologies and world-changing clinical trials UW Health is known for will be combined with innovative care coordination that allows patients to see multiple specialty care providers in a single visit and with the convenience of a drive-through pharmacy.”

Eastpark Medical Center will be located right off the interstate, so it is remarkably convenient for patients whether they are coming from Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Chicago or Madison, Kaplan added.

Dr. Peter Newcomer discusses the new Eastpark Medical Center.

This milestone for UW Health includes another exciting announcement that the health system is the first in Wisconsin to break ground on a proton beam radiation therapy program for cancer patients. Based out of Eastpark Medical Center, UW Health’s proton therapy program will offer precision radiation treatment that allows for highly targeted treatment of tumors.

“The precision of proton therapy reduces damage to healthy tissues that is often associated with radiation therapy,” said Dr. Paul Harari, chair, Department of Human Oncology, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, and radiation oncologist at UW Health. “For children requiring radiation therapy and for adults with tumors adjacent to vital organs such as the heart, brain, spinal cord, eyes, this treatment can provide the best possible chance for living their best and most fulfilled life.”

Building on its long reputation as an innovator in patient care, UW Health is also the first health system in the world to announce it will utilize upright treatment technology in its proton therapy, which could lead a paradigm shift in radiation oncology.

Traditional proton therapy involves laying the patient flat on a treatment table, then moving table and patient into a large tube and rotating a massive proton beam gantry around the patient. This can be challenging and sometimes frightening for patients, especially children. And the fact that the required equipment and shielding can take up an entire building’s worth of space can be both cost and space prohibitive for many hospitals.

Partnering with Leo Cancer Care, a medical device company based in Middleton with offices in Europe and North America, UW Health will employ a new treatment method that allows the patient to remain in a more natural, upright position in a specially designed robotic chair that moves the patient around the proton beam.

Upright treatment offers both clinical and emotional benefits for patients receiving proton treatment for cancer, according to Stephen Towe, CEO, Leo Cancer Care.

“We’ve found this has benefits not only for patients’ comfort, but also the position allows for better breathing, heart function and organ placement,” Towe said. “Beyond the clinical benefits, we think patients should be empowered to be upright looking eye-to-eye with their provider, taking on cancer together.”

The Leo Cancer Care technology is in the process of gaining 510k approval and will not be used to treat patients until approval has been granted.