Creating a Culture of Patient Safety through Innovative Hospital Design

Jan 01, 2006

When SynergyHealth, St. Joseph's Hospital of West Bend, Wisconsin, decided to relocate and build an 82-bed acute care facility, they recognized the opportunity to design a hospital that focused on patient safety. Hospital leaders believed if a facility design process was “engineered properly,” it would enhance patient safety and create a patient safe culture; however, we found little information to give us direction. To help plan the new facility, they conducted a national learning lab, drawing what we could about patient safety from available literature; inviting experts from the health care profession and other fields, including transportation, spacecraft design, and systems engineering ; and involving board members, staff, physicians, and facility design team. In this case study, they describe the process used by St. Joseph to design a new hospital around patient safety and identify and discuss safety design principles, providing examples of their application at St. Joseph's new facility. Finally, recommendations are made for the design of all health care systems, including new facilities, remodeling, and additions.

John G. Reiling, St. Joseph's Hospital of West Bend, WI
NCBI: A service of the National Library of Medicine
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
National Institutes of Health

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