Photos Andy Calvert
What is a Health Park?
Since it opened in 2012, Wellstar Acworth Health Park has operated with the intention of making healthcare accessible and convenient for the community it serves. According to Guillermo Sanabia, executive director of health parks at Wellstar, the health park is accessible to a wider community than people might think. Located at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Cedarcrest Road in Acworth, the health park is only about 10-15 minutes from downtown Cartersville.
In Sanabia’s mind, this makes it an incredible resource for Bartow County residents. “To have a facility like the Acworth Health Park ten minutes away from your home is remarkable,” he says. “It should be considered part of the community – that’s how close it is.”
The health park’s proximity to the community is only the beginning, though. A revolutionary medical concept, the health park format serves as a one-stop shop for patients. The idea is that patients can access all of the health services that they need in one location. QU “We bring those services out into the communities we serve, and we do a very good job at it.”
The Wellstar Acworth Health Park features family medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN primary care practices, as well as specialty services such as cardiovascular medicine; ear, nose, and throat; lab and imaging services; a surgery center; an on-site pharmacy and more. It also includes an urgent care that is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sanabia says that they have grown the urgent care recently to increase efficiency, decreasing the average time a patient spends in the facility by 15 to 18 minutes per visit.
Comfort is Key
According to Sanabia, healthcare experts? from across the country have visited the Acworth park and deemed it one of the best of its kind. “The design and the atmosphere doesn’t feel like a hospital,” Sanabia says. “We have incorporated water features, lighting plants, and things like that, that help us decrease the patients’ anxiety while they are there to receive services.”
This attention to patient comfort and experience has informed the park’s approach to certain services, as well. Even before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they offered telemedicine, a service that Sanabia says has exploded since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to Sanabia, telemedicine allows Wellstar to accommodate every patient and their level of comfort. “Our physicians wanted to make sure that their patients were getting the services they needed when they needed them,” he says. “The most important thing is to make sure that no one goes without that needed appointment.”
The park has also added self-check-in kiosks in the waiting area so that visitors can expedite their check-in process and get to their appointments more efficiently. It is small details and improvements like this one that Sanabia says improve the overall patient experience and keep patients coming back. “Patient experience to me is one of our primary goals,” he says. “Patients expect quality care. We’ve done a good job growing a little faster internally to help us stay ahead of the curve and satisfy our patients.”
State-of-the-Art Surgery Center
Acworth Health Park is expanding beyond small improvements, however. They recently opened a 25,000-square-foot outpatient surgery center, complete with three operating rooms, 15 pre-and post-op rooms, and state-of-the-art technology. For Wellstar hand surgeon Dr. Daniel Holtz, this newest addition is a gamechanger.
“It’s everything I need in an operating room. The overall convenience of the center being right here has completely shifted the paradigm of my practice,” he says. “As a provider, I’ll do whatever is in the best interest of the patient, and that means providing them with the best available resources and facilities. Wellstar has helped establish, develop, and promote all of those things.”
The surgery center came about because of recent healthcare trends toward more outpatient surgeries, and it expands even further on the convenience that the health park offers. “With our surgery center here, it’s made things even more convenient,” Holtz says. “We can do all the imaging here, it’s the same building where patients have their primary care, they can get lab work here, and then we can schedule procedures down at the surgery center that’s right here as well.” The on-site pharmacy also allows patients to leave from surgery with their prescriptions already filled.
Having all of these services in one place ultimately makes everything for patients and physicians alike. “With other health parks opening up, Wellstar has established the idea that all of these resources can be available in one area,” Holtz says. “I think it can’t be overstated how important it is to have these facilities in communities that are closer to people, rather than having people drive into larger areas for healthcare. Overall, it promotes overall better healthcare when you have this type of convenience.”
In order to better serve a larger community, Wellstar has added a primary care office in Cartersville. The hope is that patients of this practice can then access the Acworth Health Park for any specialty needs. “The high-quality services and equipment that we have available in the facility are second to none,” Sanabia says. “They’re something that our Bartow patients deserve and get with our Acworth Health Park.”