Submitted by: Todd Imming, Chief Marketing Officer, The Korte Company
Designing a hospital is no easy task. Creating a safe, comfortable place for patients to heal and doctors and nurses to work requires a significant amount of strategic planning.
Modern healthcare facilities provide a wide range of services and play many different roles, all of which are consolidated within a single building or close-knit campus. Those include:
- Inpatient and outpatient services, from simple procedures to long-term intensive care.
- Diagnostic and treatment functions requiring labs, imaging spaces and operating rooms.
- Administrative services like reception, registration, record keeping, accounting and HR.
- Research and teaching services in case of a teaching hospital.
- Operational functions like food service, housekeeping, supply management, security and grounds maintenance.
The hospital design process becomes quite complex when accounting for all these functions. Efficiency and utility are crucial when developing a hospital floor plan. Our healthcare Design-Build experts offer insight based on decades of experience building these facilities. With their expertise and guidance, your hospital floor plan development process will result in a facility that improves patient care and secures the financial success of your healthcare organization.
Hospital floor plan considerations
Hospital floor plan design must account for a facility’s balance of functions and space allocation over time. Healthcare leaders will benefit from the expertise of a Design-Build partner with vast experience building in this sector.
Understanding the Master Plan
Most hospitals or hospital systems have a Master Plan in place that guides the growth and evolution of the facility. There’s a long list of resources the Design-Builder must become familiar with, and this one is at the top.
Master Plans are a critical roadmap during the early stages of construction planning, guiding customers and their Design-Build partners toward the hospital floor plan that meets the facility’s needs—now and in the future. Consider how information in the Master Plan can help answer questions related to the development of a hospital floor plan, including:
- Is the current construction project “standalone,” or is it one phase of a multi-phase program?
- Is there sufficient available land to allow for the construction of a whole new building, or will this project be a renovation or expansion of an existing structure?
- Do hospital leaders intend to expand existing services or introduce new ones in conjunction with new construction? And, what challenges or opportunities arise from that as the facility faces a potential rearrangement of existing floor plans?
- How do hospital leaders believe their patient population will change over time? Will new construction be flexible enough to respond to this evolution?
- What external factors like adjacent property development or public transportation options will impact the way the facility evolves?
Master Plans should take a comprehensive view of how healthcare facilities exist—and change—within the communities they serve. At The Korte Company, we’re experts at understanding Master Plans and designing healthcare facilities that achieve the goals stated within them.
But we go a step further, too. At The Korte Company, the job is the boss. And that means doing everything possible to add value to any project we’re working on. Sometimes, that means designs change. A key benefit of choosing Design-Build is that all project stakeholders are on the same page from the beginning. There’s no miscues or confusion, only collaboration and cooperation.
We also know that healthcare organizations want to get the most for their construction investment. We excel at finding cost savings on healthcare projects because it gives us the opportunity to work with customers to start tackling other Master Plan items sooner.
The right Design-Builder is more than just a construction company. It’s a partner for progress.
If your facility lacks a Master Plan, or that Master Plan doesn’t include capital improvements like new construction, we’ll help you develop one. Learn more about how we do that by reading about the construction program we helped develop for Anderson Hospital in Illinois.
Evidence-based hospital floor plan design
Hospital design has begun to mimic healthcare in its adoption of an evidence-based approach. Just as doctors and nurses adjust treatments based on the latest medical studies, hospital leaders and their construction partners understand that better-designed hospitals can improve patient outcomes, enhance site security, boost staff satisfaction, increase operational efficiency and reduce adverse environmental impacts.
The principle of healing architecture has arisen from research assessing how patient outcomes improve when certain design choices are made. Consider these findings:
- An experiment conducted by neuropsychiatric providers in Italy found that patients suffering from bipolar disorder spent an average of four fewer days in the hospital when they were assigned east-facing rooms that captured morning sunlight.
- After shadowing the staff of the neonatal intensive care unit in a Swedish hospital, an architect redesigned the space. After implementation, hospital stays for premature infants measurably shortened.
- A study of aggressive patients showed that injection of sedatives was reduced by 70% for patients whose rooms featured posters depicting scenes of nature compared to those whose rooms’ walls were blank.
And, as the Association of American Medical Colleges discusses in this article, good things happen when design elements maximizing patient and family experiences are combined with floor plans that:
- Let medical teams centralize their work to deliver care more efficiently.
- Keep separate teams (like medical staff and custodial personnel) from getting in each other’s way.
- Allow security teams and local law enforcement to more easily unify their response to emergencies (we expand on this idea in our discussion on enhancing school security through design).
The design principles we discussed above are passive measures proven to improve health outcomes. Opportunities to implement active measures exist, too. By that we mean making design decisions that directly affect the way hospital or healthcare facility staff deliver care. The key to developing improved floor plans is collaboration. For us, it means conducting extensive interviews with the doctors, nurses and other support staff who will use the facility daily.
We want these individuals in on the design process because they see floor plans differently. To them, floor plans are more than drawings. They represent the spaces these professionals depend on to deliver the best care possible to patients.
User input is more important than ever because most healthcare construction projects are renovations or expansions to existing sites. Experienced staff have the best sense of what will work best for patients.
In addition to seeking input from healthcare providers and other staff, round out your planning team with security team leaders and even local law enforcement and fire protection personnel. When it comes to building state-of-the-art healing spaces, no amount of expert input is too much.