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September 26, 2022

BAMF Health is ready to roll

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Originally posted on GRBJ by Abby Poirier

Bold Advanced Medical Future has seen its first patients, bringing the intelligence-based precision medicine facility one step closer to its mission of giving cancer patients back their lives.

The facility, located at the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids, originally broke ground in 2019. Since then, the BAMF Health team has been pairing thoughtful, climate-friendly building design with groundbreaking technology to create a treatment facility as unique as its approach.

BAMF Health saw its first few prostate and neuroendocrine cancer patients in August. Its molecular imaging and theranostics (diagnostic and therapeutic) methods confirmed diagnosis and started treatment using both the most advanced medical imaging technology and treatment techniques for a historically significant “soft launch.”

According to Andy McLean, BAMF Health business development manager, seeing the facility start to take off has been a rewarding experience.

“It’s one thing to see it on paper, and then you see it in practice — knowing that we are going to impact so many patients’ lives — is just a tremendous, tremendous feeling,” McLean said.

So far, McLean said patient response to BAMF’s methods has been overwhelmingly positive, specifically about the level of care that is given during diagnosis and treatment.

“We’ve definitely received some really valuable, positive feedback related to the patient experience,” McLean said. “We really pride ourselves on the patient experience and making sure that everybody is supported — from the patient to their loved ones or their caregivers or whoever is joining them for their treatment, if they’re choosing to bring someone.

“(We’ve) heard a lot of really great feedback from some of our patients’ wives and that they appreciate the care that goes above and beyond what they might expect from a conventional approach.”

The care and sensitivity that patients are praising is built into every aspect of BAMF’s design. The facility doesn’t have the stereotypical “sterile” or “cold” feel that comes with most medical environments, McLean said. Rather, focus was placed on helping patients feel welcome and comfortable, thanks to the delicate touch of Laurie Placinski, vice president of design partnership and real estate.

From details such as warm, grounding, earthy tones and wood accents in diagnosis spaces to waiting areas with large windows and spacious views, comfortable couch seating and high ceilings, BAMF feels like what it is — a top-notch, multimillion-dollar modern space where great minds are coming together to change how cancer treatment is provided.

The first floor of the building houses BAMF’s molecular imaging clinic, which hosts the facility’s first-of-its-kind PET-CT scanner. This area, where patients are given their first dose of a radioactive substance called a radiotracer to start the diagnostic process, can feel intimidating or overwhelming for patients, something that Todd Faasse, clinic lead, took into account when helping put the space together.

Faasse said he put his years of experience in patient care to work to design a space both functional and comfortable, fitting BAMF’s mission.

Patients are given private rooms with sofas for those who may be accompanying them, minimal clutter and touchscreens enabling patients to dim or brighten lights, control the room’s TV, and adjust temperature settings.

According to Faasse and McLean, the rooms were designed to give the patient as much control over their surroundings as possible, in a medical space in which they typically have very little.

Faasse even carried those design elements into the PET-CT scanning space itself, allowing patients the option of opening or closing the shutters on the room’s four windows and adding smart glass that can be frosted in the window between the clinicians who perform the scan and the patient to help them feel more at ease.

In addition, Faasse said he made sure the clinic was outfitted with everything employees needed. He added details like height-adjustable tables to ensure every clinician is able to perform to their best ability, in a space that works for them.

BAMF is matching its unique, individualized treatment methods with individualized care, offering patients as much autonomy as possible in a medical arena that too often overlooks quality of patient care in service of outcome.

“Everybody here has a hand in creating a great patient experience,” McLean said. “Whether it’s someone that you see when you come to the clinic or it’s a doctor or a nurse or a technologist or someone who might work in the background that might not ever see a patient, we all share a common mission: To bring our skill sets to the table and to leave our preconceived notions at the door and work with each other to create a great future for all of our patients.

“It’s been a collaborative effort, and we’re really proud of what we’ve built so far.”

BAMF currently is seeing patients with prostate and neuroendocrine cancers, with plans to advance into other specialties over time. The facility’s PET-CT scanner is available for medical professionals to conduct PET scans for breast cancer, lung cancer, colon/rectal cancer, lymphoma, melanoma, multiple myeloma, brain cancer and ovarian cancers.

BAMF also is participating in the ECLIPSE clinical trial, a Phase 3 trial that will involve 400 patients with metastatic prostate cancer and documented positive PSMA PET imaging, as well as seeking university partners to offer educational opportunities and hiring talent in preparation for its official grand opening.

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