Who Should be Included in Hospital Design Decisions?

Jul 02, 2018

hospital design consultation

Healthcare construction is a $40 billion-a-year industry. While new builds aren't as common, renovations and rebuilds on the over 5,500 U.S. hospitals are a frequent occurrence, making hospital design one of the most important factors in healthcare today.

Modern hospitals are ditching dated architecture, designs and technology to provide better comfort and care to patients and increase efficiency, and while many organizations are using evidence-based design to become more efficient, the question of patient care still remains. To help improve patient satisfaction and HCAHPS scores, hospitals are turning to a few key decision makers during their renovations.

Who should be involved in healthcare design? To avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen (or doctors in the operating room), here are the key sources of influence in design decisions.

Patients and Their Families

It's a no brainer: feedback from patients and their families is one of the most integral parts of the design process. Hospitals are continuously looking to patients to describe their ideal hospital stay. It's every institution's mission to design, build and provide the perfect patient experience, one that creates an environment that fosters communication, decreases anxiety, and increases comfort for patients. Patient feedback on surveys is critical to the entire process.

98 percent of hospitals in the Health Facilities Management's 2016 Hospital Construction Survey said that patient satisfaction is important in driving design changes to their facilities. 86 percent rated it as very important, and another 12 percent rated it as somewhat important. 63 percent noted that they include the public in the design process. These numbers are described as off the charts when compared to previous years.

But it's not only patients whose opinions need to be taken into account. Hospitals also want to hear from their families, as well. Family members are often deeply involved in the patient's treatment and care, and they often spend just as much time in hospitals as the patient's themselves (read more about how patient families are affecting healthcare design). They can impact HCAHPS scores, so hospitals are doing their best to provide comfortable arrangements for visitors in nearly every patient room.

Staff Members, Particularly Nurses

While patient needs, comfort and safety are generally at the forefront of hospital design, ample weight is also given to the feedback and needs of hospital staff, particularly nurses. Hospital nursing staff spends the most time in patient rooms, addressing their concerns and taking care of their needs. Nurses also walk more than four miles in a shift, placing them in more areas of the hospital than most other staff members. Their input is invaluable when it comes to hospital layout, design, etc.

More than half of hospitals have used staff interviews to improve their facility planning processes. This includes everything from facility design to new product purchases. If nurses are struggling to convey information to patients, they may recommend purchasing patient communication boards. If patients are reporting to nurses that they are not comfortable in beds, that TV's are placed in awkward positions, or any other issue, it's the nurses who are in the position to convey this information to facility managers and designers.

Consult with Experts

Healthcare designers and architects keep up with and understand the industry trends, new technology and options that hospitals are choosing to best serve their patients. They know what goes into a well-designed patient room, and they are the experts in their field.

Many healthcare facilities choose to work with designers and architects who can advise them on everything from furniture selection and placement to color schemes, industry regulations, and other guidelines. The common practice today is to implement evidence-based design approaches, backed by data and research, that help create an efficient, comfortable and effective healthcare environment.

At VividBoard, our expertise is in patient communication using custom whiteboards, which is why designers turn to us to help them build and place whiteboards in facilities across the country. We work with hospital staff and designers to create communication boards nurses love to use and patients appreciate to have available. Learn more about our custom designs and options by contacting us today.