Design and the Bottom Line: Practical Patient-Centered Approaches to the Physical Environment
An established and still-growing body of data, both hard and anecdotal, indicates that a patient-centered approach to the planning and design of hospitals, medical clinics and outpatient facilities, retirement villages, and continuing care facilities is the rare case where "too-good-to-be-true" is simply a fact. Industry experts now agree that the physical environment where care is received, in conjunction with other patient-centered care principles, provides enormous opportunity for improving the quality of patients’ healthcare experience, and actually accelerates the healing process. It is not simply that patients fare better in an environment that provides for their social, cultural, and intellectual needs—it is that hospitals that create environments conducive to fulfillment of these needs can expect to see significant improvements in patient satisfaction, positive patient outcomes, and employee engagement. These improvements ultimately save money.
Design and the Bottom Line: Practical Patient-Centered Approaches to the Physical Environment discusses misconceptions about the long- and short-term costs associated with the evolution of a hospital toward a patient-centered design, as well as the prevalent tendency to dismiss changes to the physical care-delivery environment as irrelevant to the organization's bottom line. In fact, more satisfied patients, better outcomes, less costly care, and increased employee dedication can be achieved by incremental changes over time, as an integral part of a hospital's capital improvement, renovation, or expansion budget.
This article originally appeared in The Academy Journal, published by the AIA Academy of Architecture for Healthcare (14th edition, November 2011).