Patient Care Drives Innovative Design

By on February 12, 2018

by Paul Whitson
Senior Vice President. Regional Healthcare Leader


Healthcare delivery is constantly changing as new research, innovative technology and educational methodologies challenge how medicine is practiced. Fresh thinking, tools and talent are just part of the equation for a healthier tomorrow. The design and operation of healthcare facilities must also enhance the human experience and accommodate the ever-changing needs of physicians, staff and patients.

Putting the Patient First

The Lauritzen Outpatient Center in Omaha, Nebraska, opened last year as a new leader in patient-centric care. HOK led the overall programming for the center and guided the medical planning and layout of the clinical spaces. RDG provided architectural, interior design and medical documentation.

This article first appeared in Medical Construction & Design (Jan/Feb 2018).

Planned and design with the patient experience as a guiding principle, the hospital’s patient amenities are located throughout the facility. These include hospitality-style seating, grab-and-go food service and phone chargers in waiting areas. But perhaps the most valuable amenity of this 170,000-sq.-ft. facility is more subtle: the intuitive wayfinding cues it provides for patients.

An orthopedic clinic, radiology department, outpatient pharmacy and rehabilitation gym are co-located on the first floor, allowing patients to make multiple appointments during the course of one visit. These departments were previously located on two separate floors. To streamline the experience and provide less stress, patients now only need to check in once at the traditional reception desk or a self-service kiosks.

The design also relieves stress in how it structures the patient and staff flow and organizes exam rooms. Patients enter through public-facing hallways with reduced traffic mitigated by the displacement of staff in designated work areas. Staff enter through the rear from the work areas, creating a streamlined patient and staff flow. Rooms are arranged in pods surrounding common staff work areas.

Designed with LEAN principles to improve efficiency and reduce costs, patient rooms are outfitted with key amenities and medical equipment arranged in the exact same way with interchangeable parts. This allows rooms to have flexibility and serve changing patient needs while providing stability to improve medical care.

HOK’s team planned the new Duke Eye Center in Durham, North Carolina, with a strong focus on the patient. Their needs were considered at every step of the design process for this 127,000-sq.-ft. facility.

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