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Sanford Heart Hospital: Building Brighter Futures

205,000 square feet of innovation. Six floors equipped with state-of the-art technology. A custom Healing Environment that helps foster quicker recovery time. More than 750 prepared and connected skilled professionals.

Sanford Heart Hospital. It’s changing the horizon and brightening the future of heart care in Sioux Falls and surrounding communities.

Building Walls to Unite Services

Opening in March 2012, Sanford Heart Hospital introduces highly advanced, integrated, and personalized heart care to the region. Attached directly to Sanford USD Medical Center, the Heart Hospital houses more than 750 doctors, nurses and support specialists who will have direct access to their Sanford Health colleagues across many spectrums of care.

As is expected from a Sanford Heart facility, the new hospital is equipped from the ground up with the latest life-saving technologies. Architects and builders received feedback from physicians, nurses, researchers, staff and current and former Sanford Heart patients. Focus groups guided by AECom researchers helped builders work to enhance patient experiences within the hospital.

Using this collective input from all spectrums of the heart care experience, architects began building the facility from the ground up. Hear our skilled professionals speak in their own words about what it was like to be a part of building this state-of-the-art facility at

Centralized Environment for Collaborative Care

Heart conditions not only affect the heart and vascular system, but they often affect other parts of the body as well. Sanford Heart’s centralized, specialized cardiac care family, along with an extended team of skilled professionals, provide an integrated care model that focuses on healing the whole body – not just the heart.

Historically, patients with heart conditions were forced to travel hundreds of miles away from home to receive treatment. Patients will be able to receive treatment for even the most advanced heart disease at Sanford Heart so patients and their families don’t have to travel far from home to receive care.

“The Sanford Heart Hospital consolidates all services for cardiac patients into one building to provide easy access,” said Sanford Heart Cardiologist Tom Stys, MD. “We prefer to serve our patients in or near their hometown, but if they have to come to Sioux Falls, we want to make it as convenient as possible. We do that by offering state-of-the-art technologies but also many comforts of home.”

Sanford Heart’s Skilled Professionals: Health and Wellness Partners

While the actual building is new, Sanford Heart has a decades-long history of pioneering heart care throughout the region.

“Staff, nurses and a team of dedicated physicians began this program in the 1970s,” says Charles P. O’Brien MD, president of Sanford USD Medical Center. “The opening of Sanford Heart Hospital is a celebration of their pioneering … and a natural progression in continuing to provide our patients with quality care.”

Through the decades, Sanford Heart Hospital’s skilled professionals have been driven to treat the episodic patient, but they also consider themselves patients’ health and wellness partners. This focus on treatment and supportive recovery and prevention makes a big difference in patients’ perceptions of living with heart conditions.

“People used to think of heart and vascular disease as a normal part of aging. You get to a certain age and you get heart trouble and you get vessel trouble – but that’s not true,” said Dr. O’Brien. “That’s what we want to be – a community asset here with education and screening and have people understand these things can be preventable.”

Recovering Faster in the Healing Environment

As a way to increase recovery times and educate patients and their families about healthier living and making better choices, Sanford Heart Hospital’s Center for Health & Well-being will offer wellness education classes on a weekly basis. During these class sessions, patients will learn healthy habits and ways they can increase their longevity and well being through healthy eating and exercise habits.

The new hospital is an ideal environment that allows Sanford Heart’s skilled professionals to treat patients like family and make sure they have everything they need to nurture a strong, healthy heart. Sanford embraces the philosophy that the greatest capacity for healing occurs when stress and anxiety has been lessened. As part of the overall motif of the new facility, the Healing Environment spans the entire hospital and includes special recessed lighting, holistic music, a massage area, aromatherapy and custom artwork.

To that end, Sanford Heart partnered with local artists to produce 130 commissioned works of art for the building. Each of the six floors features custom-designed artwork that both supports a unique theme and highlights the area communities.

Another feature of our Healing Environment is patient-controlled music pillows, featuring speakers and distinctive music patients can adjust to their desired volume level.

These few examples will maximize positive and minimize negative distractions. Learn more about other Heart Hospital innovations.

Brighter Futures on the Horizon

For Sanford Heart, the new hospital is just the beginning. Brighter futures are on the horizon. But as we embrace plans to change the way we treat and prevent heart conditions in patients, Dr. O’Brien hopes his Sanford family does not lose sight of the positive impact our trailblazing past will have on the future.

“We were pioneers back in the 1970s, starting the heart program from scratch,” said Dr. O’Brien. “With this wonderful breakthrough of having a heart hospital, we continue to pioneer.”

Posted Date: February 2012