Tech firms pledge to help fund Stanford expansion

Silicon Valley companies partner with Stanford Hospital & Clinics to raise $150 million

A corporate-philanthropy program that aims to raise as much as $150 million for the proposed Stanford Hospitals & Clinics expansion project has launched with six founding companies, Stanford Hospital announced Tuesday (Feb. 1).

The new Stanford Hospital Corporate Partners Program -- which includes Hewlett-Packard, Apple, eBay, Intel, Intuit and Oracle -- is expected to bring in the funds over the next 10 years. The corporate contributions would be in addition to $400 million the hospital hopes to raise in private donations.

The new $2 billion hospital is expected to be completed by 2018, with construction beginning as early as this year pending approval from the City of Palo Alto. It is part of a larger $3 billion expansion that includes Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, the Stanford University Medical Center and Stanford clinics.

"This is really unprecedented support from truly our world's most innovative companies," said Amir Dan Rubin, Stanford Hospital president and CEO. "It's unique to Stanford Hospital & Clinics and to Silicon Valley. You can't find these companies anyplace else.

"Stanford is known for a lot of innovations in health care," he added, pointing to development of the cyberknife and the first heart transplant, among many others.

Rubin pointed to how health-care delivery is changing, thanks to technology.

"There may be a lot of things we can do without people showing up here. You can get your prescriptions online and have interactions online. We can leverage expertise and give advice remotely."

Staff at both tech companies and Stanford "can learn a lot from one another," said Ron Johnson, Apple senior vice president of retail and a member of the Stanford Hospital board.

Johnson pointed to the 75 million visitors to Apple retail stores last quarter.

"We have learned a lot about innovative ways to serve customers well. Amir (Rubin) is very interested in seeing how that might be applied to patient experiences at the hospital. We think that's a great conversation to have," he said.

But, he added, the primary purpose of the partnership is philanthropic.

"We all see the benefit to our employees and our families of a world-class medical center in the backyard of our employees. At the same time we think that by opening up a dialogue between the companies and medical people at Stanford we can learn a lot from one another.

"It will ultimately produce a better hospital and patient experience that hasn't been imagined to date."

Johnson noted that prospective Apple employees ask about three common issues: concerning schools, housing and health care.

"In Palo Alto there are great schools, housing is pretty expensive, but having a world-class medical center is an unbelievable asset. That's the driving force behind the partnership," he said.

Rubin, who joined Stanford Hospital in early January after serving as chief operating officer at the UCLA Health System in Los Angeles, noted that UCLA "has a track record of success in developing patient-centered clinical environments."

"Our vision is to heal humanity through science, one patient at a time. We've often done that through innovation. How we handle a lot more information, such as genetic profiles, how we interact with providers, physicians, share information across settings -- these are things we're beginning to think about.

"Often processes are not designed with the patient/customer in mind; these are new walls we need to break down. How do we organize teams? How do we get that information out to the right people? ... (This is) a model of health care here that could be a global model for the future," he said.

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Like this comment
Posted by Francis
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

Terrific group of philanthropic companies spearheading this fundraising effort on behalf of Stanford Hospital. Over time, hopefully Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Applied Materials, VMware, Varian Medical, Better Place, and Tesla may add themselves to the illustrious list.

Advances in medicine, medical technology and nanotechnology seem to be exploding now. What a great time and opportunity for Stanford and our entire region.

Hopefully communications advances occur, as well, to tie it all together so we don't have to drive around so much. Fiber and ubiquitous WiFi could make a world of the difference.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

Now if we could just stop whining about the traffic issues and embrace all the good that Stanford Hospital does for both our community and for medical research.

Like this comment
Posted by Too much traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Well said, Palo Alto mom. Unfortunately, the "too much traffic" myth has been the rallying cry for a former city council member and it has been heard so often that many people actually believe it.
Let's remember some of the other "doom and gloom" scenarios regarding traffic in the city:
1) The Sand Hill Road widening--predictions of impending doom--actual result--better traffic flow
2) Ikea in E. Palo Alto--predictions of impending doom on University Ave--actual result--no problems.

Complaints about traffic need to be taken with a grain of salt in this city, especially when the hidden motives (buy a house on one of the busiest streets in the city and then expect traffic to be reduced on said street) behind the complaints are not known.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

> Let's remember some of the other "doom and gloom" scenarios
> regarding traffic in the city:

The Sand Hill opposition (Measure O, if memory serves), was instigated by a bunch of local "environmentalists" (Peter Drekmeier was a leader of this "movement"). They failed to use any modeling, or anything except an "anti-growth", "anti-consumer" alarmist rhetoric to oppose the expansion proposed by Stanford. As the previous poster has stated, the bottlenecks and traffic disruption they forecast has never materialized. The simply did not know what they were talking about.

Beneath that, we have a Planning Department in Palo Alto that must be seen as more incompetent than not, where traffic issues are concerned. The PA traffic planners do not seem to have a city-wide/regional traffic flow model, which they can use to determine (using state-of-the-art estimation techniques) the impact of a road reconfiguration, or a development at a given location. They do, from time-to-time, require developers to provide such model-generated results for new project proposals, which are always provided by traffic engineering consulting firms. The results are probably correct for a few hundred yards around the focal point of the investigations, but there seems to be no city-wide integration of these results by the PA planners. If there were such models in use by the PA planners, then anytime someone starts yelling: "traffic", "traffic" .. the sky is falling", the city-wide traffic model could provide much better data about the impact of the proposed project than a bunch of anti-capitalist "environmentalists" who have shown themselves to be wrong more often than not.

Palo Alto deserves better planners than it has. Unfortunately, they seem to be entrenched behind a wall of "not invented here" and an indifferent City Council.

Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

If traffic and congestion really aren't a concern then perhaps you should propose building some of the additions in the Duveneck/St. Francis and Southgate neighborhoods.

Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Jim - I don't think there is room in any Palo Alto neighborhood for a hospital or research center. Stanford, on the other hand, has plenty of land... Palo Alto is a City. City's have traffic. Downtown neighborhoods (in pretty much any City) have more traffic and parking problems than areas farther from Downtown. Stanford should certainly do all they can to mitigate traffic issues, but a world class medical center is worth a little traffic. Ikea is a great example - the huge traffic jams that were "expected" never materialized.

Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 2, 2011 at 5:06 pm

> If traffic and congestion really aren't a concern then perhaps you
> should propose building some of the additions in the Duveneck/St.
> Francis and Southgate neighborhoods.

These neighborhoods are zones as "Residential" at the moment, and it's difficult to believe that anyone would support any zoning that would allow Stanford, or anyone else, to put office buildings in these areas. Traffic, and the integrity of the idea of "residential" would be obvious reasons to oppose any idea of changing the zoning.

At the moment, it's not clear just how much additional traffic is projected (at least from reading the newspaper accounts of the planning process). It's a shame that better modeling is not being used to make these estimates available for public consideration.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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