The rise of consumerism and the push for improved patient satisfaction have captured the attention of large swaths of the health care design, construction and operations communities.

So, for this year’s Hospital Construction Survey, conducted in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, we decided to explore how health facilities professionals are bringing patients into the planning and design process and some of the top features being incorporated into projects to improve the patient experience.

While the top-line numbers are provided in this month’s cover story, some of the written comments that didn’t make it into the story also shed light on the subject.

“We get patients and their families involved in the planning-design-construction process,” wrote a facilities director at a hospital in the Northeast. “Our facility designs are centered around three principles — patient care, patient safety and patient experience,” wrote a director of facilities and construction at another Northeastern hospital.

One noteworthy trend is the number of respondents who equated patient experience with efficiency and flow.

“Our new facilities are designed around staff and patient movement and treatment patterns,” stated a facilities director from a Western hospital. “Our entire project is based on patient-centered efficient design,” commented a facilities director in the Southeast.

This was taken further by a vice president of facilities in the Northeast. “Our master facility plan road map guides decision-making for all facility changes in that wayfinding and flows are considered at the front end of projects,” he wrote. “Major future circulation patterns are respected, so that when new structures can be built, we haven’t permanently blocked the master plan’s circulation pattern.”

However, as one vice president of facilities in the Southeast commented, all the thoughtful design in the world can’t replace a dedicated staff. “The key driver to patient satisfaction is staff attitude and interaction,” he wrote. “Maintaining a positive staff is key once the basic building thresholds such as private rooms are achieved.”

View the results of the 2016 Hospital Construction Survey to learn more about designing to enhance the patient experience as well as other hospital construction issues. Make sure to click on the "interactive data" points to get the full story.