Emergency Departments: The New Front Door
The Emergency Department (ED) has become the new front door to the hospital – equally important as the lobby and other areas in creating an overall impression of an institution, its attitude towards its patients, and the quality of the care offered. Several forces are driving change within the department. Good design addresses these changes. Good planning using historical data can project the types of patients that will be seen and their acuity level. In so doing, adequate space can be provided for each type of patient (emergent, trauma, pediatric, and so on). Physical design can play a part in the development of new operational models for effective triage and treatment of patients. Staff and patient flow can be analyzed and addressed in the arrangement of spaces. And changes in technology need to be understood so that the impact on space (i.e., square footage, placement in the ED) can be incorporated up front in the planning process.