Hospital redesign reduces patient fear, boosts satisfaction

A pediatrician and his patient
Photo Credit: Getty/shironosov

Hospitals can be frightening for patients, but one eye facility in the Netherlands has transformed its facility into a warm and welcoming place—and the payoff on patient satisfaction has been clear.

Rotterdam Eye Hospital in the Netherlands, took a patient-first approach to redesigning its hospital and its policies and procedures, according to article from Harvard Business Review. Hospital leaders decided to make the hospital more welcoming when they reviewed patient feedback that indicated that patients were most fearful that they would fully lose their eyesight.

The Rotterdam Eye Hospital children's center
The Rotterdam Hospital's children's center

To make the facility less frightening, the children's wing features stepping stones so the young patients can speak eye-to-eye with clinicians and sports brightly colored furniture and artwork to make the space more fun.

Thus far, the hospital has seen its score rise to an 8.6 out of 10 on consumer satisfaction surveys, according to the article, and now 95% of procedures can be conducted without an overnight stay. Evidence suggests that hospital design can have a positive impact on patient outcomes, and can also improve staff efficiency and morale. Nurses—who are already at risk for high levels of stress and burnout—may be especially effected by poor design, and are increasingly used as sounding boards for redesign ideas.

Some other ideas for a patient-centered redesign include:

  • More comfortable furniture. Even offer a few test options and have patients vote on their favorites.
  • Elevators that offer views of main parking lots or garages to help visitors stay oriented i the hospital
  • Electronic monitors that allow video teleconferences with remote family or friends, and would allow visitors to leave messages for patients if they stop by while they're out of their rooms for treatment
  • A separate exit for patients at discharge so they don't feel as though they have to face the world when they don't looking their best