Health care organizations have renewed their focus on patient satisfaction in recent years as satisfaction surveys became publicly released and tied to reimbursement. Health care’s physical environment and professionals who design, build and maintain that environment play an important role in a patient’s experience.

ASHE is bringing together a variety of organizations, including the American College of Healthcare Architects, American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Health, the Beryl Institute, Center for Health Design, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, International Interior Design Association, Planetree and the Samueli Institute. These organizations will come together for the first time at the International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction (PDC Summit), where a patient satisfaction track will explore how architects, contractors and facility professionals can help to improve patient satisfaction. The PDC Summit will be held March 20–23 in San Diego.

While many facility professionals are involved with efforts to keep their hospitals clean and quiet, these organizations understand that the physical environment and facility professionals also affect other areas covered by the surveys. For example, incorporating natural light and views of nature into hospital design can reduce the perception of pain, and providing successful wayfinding can contribute to higher overall ratings.

ASHE published a monograph in 2015 that outlines some of the steps hospitals are taking to improve patient satisfaction in a variety of ways. The monograph — HCAHPS Scores, the Patient Experience, and the Affordable Care Act from the Facility Perspective — recommends using a “people, process, place” model to address patient satisfaction concerns.

By considering people, process and place for each aspect covered by the HCAHPS survey, health care organizations can help to boost scores. For example, if a hospital is working to improve quietness scores, it might consider the following tactics:

People: Develop a noise-reduction campaign, identify target goals and support a culture of caring.

Process: Create a cellphone use policy for visitors and supply patients with earplugs and TV headphones.

Place: Use sound-absorbing materials, eliminate overhead paging and maintain equipment to avoid squeaks.

For more information on improving the patient experience, attend the PDC Summit ( and read the ASHE monograph (

Deanna Martin is the communications manager at the American Society for Healthcare Engineering.


Important monographs available from ASHE

Following are two recently released monographs that can be accessed by ASHE members as free PDFs at

HCAHPS Scores, the Patient Experience, and the Affordable Care Act from the Facility Perspective. This new ASHE monograph explores how the health care physical environment and facility professionals can improve patient satisfaction scores.

Risk Assessment of Medical Equipment. A key part of the Joint Commission’s environment of care management plans, risk assessments of medical equipment are covered in this new ASHE monograph. It presents a framework for facilities professionals to follow.

Design guidelines available to industry through ASHE

The 2014 editions of the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities and the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities can be purchased at