insight • Aug 17 2022

Hospital Design Can Be Your Differentiator

What if we told you that the design of your hospital or healthcare facility could help you build customer and patient loyalty, boost your patient satisfaction scores, differentiate you from the competition, and help you deliver on the promise of your brand? 

It’s a pretty lofty claim, but it’s true. 

For the most part, hospitals and healthcare facilities are clinically excellent. Staffed with doctors, nurses, and other highly-skilled, highly trained caregivers. The care patients receive is fairly consistent from one facility to another. That’s the constant. The variable is the environment in which that care is administered. Design is a powerful factor in the patient experience and when it’s done exceptionally well, it contributes to a seamless overall experience. 

The first hospitals weren’t designed with patient safety in mind. Rather, they were designed similar to prisons, with as many beds as they could handle. The prison mentality system was, of course, flawed. 


Pandemic Hospital Design From the 1800s

One of the most concrete and lasting models of excellent hospital design was implemented nearly 200 years ago by one of the most widely known and respected nurses of all time, Florence Nightingale. She realized early on that the way hospitals were set up was not conducive to patient safety, patient health, and overall efficiency. She created a pavilion ward which is still the format used in most hospital designs today. 

Nightingale realized patients need to be spaced out rather than crammed one bed after another. We see this design happening right now as we deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The need to ensure patients are properly spaced helps reduce the spread of infection. Her pavilion ward concept also created greater efficiencies for caregivers who were better able to treat patients with similar ailments who were grouped together in similar “wards.”

Another facet of Nightingale’s concept is the need for better ventilation — another consideration as healthcare providers deal with the pandemic. Building with efficient ventilation and airflow systems can greatly reduce the spread of germs and bacteria and help contribute to better patient outcomes. 


Today’s Hospital Design

Nightingale’s incredible contributions to healthcare and specifically to nursing continue to this day. But it was her wisdom and expertise in modeling the design of hospital wards which led to lower infection rates, better overall sanitation, and a better experience for patients and those who serve them. 

Her model is one that is still used as a foundation for good healthcare design today. And organizations with a clear focus on providing exceptional patient experiences begin with an exceptional design plan to help deliver on the promise of their brand.


Benefits of Thoughtful Hospital Design

Hospitals and healthcare organizations often compete to attract and retain top talent and with good reason. It’s great to be able to boast about having a top surgeon, nurse, or clinician on your team. But the people on your team are just one of the legs on the three-legged stool of what we know as the patient experience. The other two legs, which are the services or product you offer and the environment or setting in which you provide care, must be just as strong. 

If we want to provide exceptional patient experiences, we must apply the same rigor to superior design elements as we do to the clinical side of the healthcare equation. 

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