Beyond Replacement, ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano is Revolutionary

Plans will Make Patients’ Experience ‘Best it’s Ever Been’

When Shawano Medical Center affiliated with ThedaCare in 2011, the people of Shawano were promised a new hospital. More than two years later, some community members still ask why the existing 80-year-old Shawano Medical Center cannot simply be remodeled.

“Expectations have changed a lot since the original hospital was built more than eight decades ago,” said Dorothy Erdmann, CEO of Shawano Medical Center. “Patients expect to have operable air conditioning on hot summer days, yet our aging HVAC system has broken down during hot spells in the past several years. They expect attractive and soothing spaces, and to have privacy as they are rolled into surgery. There are design improvements and equipment upgrades being planned for the new medical center that will make our patients’ experience the best it’s ever been. And these changes are made possible through the smart investment in a new building, with all its possibilities.”

Erdmann explained the new facility will go far beyond replacement of a building that was constructed in the 1930s, an era of significantly different health care delivery. It will revolutionize the way Shawano families receive and participate in their own health care. “Most importantly, the new facility will have the soul of the community and its cultures embedded within it,” she said.

The design of the new ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano is in progress with an expected summer groundbreaking and fall 2014 opening. Its primary design inspiration is patient-focused and wellness-based health care for individuals and families. It will be built to deliver up-to-date medical care with an eye toward evolving to meet the requirements of future health care innovations.

Patient-focused means Shawano-area families will have all of their health care readily accessible in one location that places the highest priority on excellent health care, collaboration, comfort, and privacy. Patients and families will have direct access between the hospital and the existing ThedaCare Physicians-Shawano clinic. They will easily travel between inpatient rooms, outpatient rooms, the emergency department, family birth center, inpatient and outpatient surgery, rehabilitation services, community rooms, oncology services, offices for primary care and other specialty doctors and a retail pharmacy.

Wellness-based care is oriented toward keeping people healthy and out of the hospital instead of solely addressing acute health crises that may put them there. This type of health care uses local classes, support groups, and new technology to keep people healthy. ThedaCare at Work, ThedaCare at Home, and the Rural Health Initiative are examples of successful local community-based care services.

“We are keeping as much care in Shawano as possible. When it’s necessary, we are fortunate to have the option to plug into the vast resources of the larger ThedaCare organization. It’s a win-win for Shawano and our people,” Erdmann said.

ThedaCare ( is a community-owned health system consisting of Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, ThedaCare Physicians, Ingenuity First, and other health care services. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with nearly 5,400 employees. To get the latest health news, follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.