A recent study from the American Journal of Medical Quality looked at various factors that influence patient satisfaction in pediatric care facilities, such as physician care, personal concern and nurse care. It assessed four different care settings within pediatric facilities, including primary care, outpatient, inpatient and the emergency department.

The study found that different factors weigh more heavily on patient satisfaction than others. For instance, follow-up phone calls following emergency or inpatient care had a greater effect on patient satisfaction than in the other two categories.

Another factor that was included in the study was the facility's impact on patient satisfaction. Although it was one of the lower factors that influenced the patient experience, the comfort and cleanliness of a facility did play a role, especially in primary and outpatient care settings.

In a recent feature, "Designing for brand awareness," Mark Patterson, AIA ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, says that "by using the designer's palette of tools, such as form, lighting and color, and adopting strategies like template design solutions and retail models, health care organizations can have greater a impact on the consumer psyche."

The impact of a facility, however, is limited. As noted in a Johns Hopkins study released earlier this year, facility design has a big effect on how patients feel about the actual facility, but it has little effect on how they feel about the actual care. Bad care is bad care even if it's wrapped in a pretty package.

As Patterson points out, though, a smart design that embodies a health system's culture and philosophy can be an effective tool to help solidify brand identity and win loyalty. If a foundation of excellence already exists, facility design can help to drive that theme home with patients. 


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