Hospitals innovate design strategies to improve patient experience

Hospitals increasingly pay attention to design and physical space as a factor in patient experience, according to an article in U.S. News & World Report.

Hospitals look to design as a way to improve both population and community health. For example, Methodist Richardson (Texas) Medical Center relocated to a $120 million, 125-bed facility a few miles from its old location in May after a three-year design and construction process, according to the article. In the new building, all outpatient services are on the ground floor with the emergency room, laboratory and radiology department all located next to the medical office building.

Methodist Richardson has also established three "care zones" for all patient rooms, according to President Kenneth Hutchenrider: the area immediately off the hallway for caregivers such as nurses, the patient zone at and around the bed, and the family/visitor zone around the window.

Intermountain Healthcare in Utah adopted similar design strategies to maximize patient satisfaction, according to Director of Program Development Heath Jones. "We're starting to develop a blueprint of co-locating services," Jones told U.S. News. Intermountain, he said, decided design is a vital part of the broader business strategy, as part of a model of more connected care the organization wants to pioneer on a national or global scale.

Intermountain's other design innovations include increasing surgery and imaging's proximity to one another whenever possible due to their intertwined nature, according to the article.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has an innovation team featuring four in-house designers, one of whom has a background in anthropology. In 2008, Memorial Sloan-Kettering collaborated with Parsons The New School for Design on its new chemotherapy infusion center in Brooklyn, taking into account design suggestions such as meditation areas and customizable lighting in each room, according to the article.

Hospitals take design cues from other industries as well, such as CHI St. Luke's Health-The Woodlands (Texas) Hospital, which used the hospitality industry as a model, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the article