Full results of the 2016 Hospital Construction Survey is just a few weeks away and, just as it was with its predecessors, this year's survey speaks to rising trends in health care.

This year, we decided to focus on the patient's influence on health care design. There have been many reports stating that because patients are taking on a larger share of health care costs, many of them are thinking like customers; and any good business knows that the customer is always right. 

So, how is that playing out in health care construction? Full numbers from our survey will be disclosed Feb. 3, but we can say that the majority of our survey respondents include patients and community members during the design process of new facilities. One way they do that is through mock-up designs, which not only benefits the patients, but staff as well.

We've seen this with the health technology incubator MATTER, which collaborated with the American Medical Association (AMA) to open the AMA Interaction Studio, a 425-square-foot mock doctor's office where vendors and doctors can try out new equipment and technology in a lifelike setting.

At the Children's Hospital of Michigan-Troy, Larry Gold, CEO of Children's Hospital of Michigan, says that its staff has benefited greatly from using mock designs to practice workflow processes before it opens its new facility Feb. 1.

The hospital used integrated facility design principles that always put workflow front and center. Doug Dulin of Simpler Consulting, an expert in integrated facility design, says that testing several design concepts concurrently not only helps to narrow alternatives and land at a best-case option, but it also speeds up the design process vs. the traditional method where only one concept is tested at a time.

A workflow analysis, Dulin says, "allows the design team to see where their layout adds value and where it creates bottlenecks and waste. Integrated facility design will challenge individuals to think about the system at a macro level to eliminate waste."  

Creating a mock-up prior to finalizing designs may require some extra legwork up front, but the long-term benefits of waste elimination may be well worth it.

Thumbnail photo provided by American Medical Assocation.


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