From beginning to end, Lean design takes a completely different trek than the traditional process. While the latter is headed by a silo design team that typically focuses on architecture first, the Lean approach proactively engages facility stakeholders right from the start and focuses on designs that can help to improve efficiency by supporting operational processes better. 

Dave Connolly, senior vice president, Hammes Co., says the focus on Lean design has ushered in an exciting time for the world of health care.

“You’re always looking to improve the care environment, to get people to be more efficient, to get it more Lean, so that they can focus on the time they have with the patient,” he says.

At its root, Lean design in health care facilities isn’t just about saving time or money. Rather, those benefits come as a result of improving health care operations through targeted design strategies.

For instance, New York-based Northwell Health is expanding its use of split-flow emergency department design, which accelerates treatment and discharge for patients with lower-acuity conditions and speeds up the hospital admission process for those with higher-acuity conditions.

Another organization that uses Lean concepts is North Shore Physician’s Group’s urgent care center in Danvers, Mass. The ambulatory care facility features team workspaces called flow stations, where doctors, nurses and other members of the health care team can work side by side. In “Designing Lean ambulatory care facilities,” you can read about many more outpatient facilities that have embraced Lean design as a key way to improve health care.


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