Improving the Patient Experience: Best Practices for Safety-Net Clinic Redesign

Mar 01, 2009

This report summarizes the results of a research project examining how health care facility designs and various physical aspects of ambulatory care environments can positively or negatively impact patient experiences. The project included a review of literature examining evidence-based design in ambulatory care clinics (ACCs), and best practice case studies of community health center designs. This report is intended as a resource guide to help decision-makers involved in designing new SNCs or retrofitting existing SNCs create safer, less stressful, and more patient-centered care environments.

The focus of this project was to understand the key issues involved in designing safety-net clinics, which comprise a subset of ambulatory care clinics (ACCs). While both ambulatory care and safety-net clinics provide a wide range of outpatient primary, medical, and surgical care services, including preventive (e.g., health check-ups) and curative (e.g., treatment for chronic diseases) treatments, SNCs are distinguished by their mission to provide services regardless of patients’ ability to pay. However, recognizing that research on ACCs is sparse and that research focusing on safety-net clinics is even more limited, the literature review looked at studies conducted within any type of ACC. Best practice case studies (conducted as on-site visits and phone interviews) were conducted at community health centers (one type of NC) to supplement and strengthen the information obtained from the literature review. The case study findings along with the literature review provide a snapshot of the current state of ambulatory care design and provide a foundation for offering initial design recommendations and considerations for those involved in designing safety-net clinics.

Anjali Joseph, Ph.D.
Amy Keller, M. Arch.
Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi, Ph.D.
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
The Center for Health Design

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