Improving the Patient Experience Through the Health Care Physical Environment report cover

ASHE and AHA’s new report, “Improving the Patient Experience Through the Health Care Physical Environment.”

Image courtesy of ASHE

The American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) is committed to optimizing the health care physical environment; this includes ensuring that hospital facilities are conducive to positive patient experiences.

Dale Woodin, CHFM, FASHE, senior executive director of ASHE, says this is why the organization partnered with the American Hospital Association to develop the report, "Improving the Patient Experience Through the Health Care Physical Environment."

“With this guide, we wanted to show the various ways the physical environment ties into the patient experience. We wanted to provide concrete tools to help health care leaders incorporate this research into practice,” Woodin says. He notes that health care organizations have tightened their focus on the HCAHPS survey, since results of the survey are now publicly reported and tied to reimbursement.

“The health care physical environment and the people who manage it are valuable, but often underutilized, resources. By taking a holistic approach to [patient] satisfaction, an approach that considers the people, processes and places that comprise the patient experience, hospitals can improve HCAHPS scores,” says Woodin.

The report details the “people, process and place” model to approaching patient satisfaction and provides a template for addressing patient satisfaction issues, in order to help hospitals work through the patient experience in a comprehensive, inclusive way that will lead to better outcomes. It includes many best practices and factors to consider when designing or operating health care facilities, as well as case studies that show real-world results of hospitals that have implemented these practices.

“Patient care is about more than simply diagnosing and treating illness,” Woodin notes. “It is about demonstrating respect and dignity for the patient, creating a partnership in their care. A positive patient experience is what all health care providers strive for.”

Through design and operations, the healing environment “plays a major role in promoting and facilitating a positive patient experience,” Woodin adds.