Sixty-three percent of respondents to the 2016 Hospital Construction Survey say they include patients in the design process of new facilities, and one way they do that is through testing design ideas in live mock-ups.

For instance, Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas created mock-ups before finalizing parts of its 2.8 million-square-foot campus. Some of the mock-ups were as simple as cardboard facsimiles while others were built as fully fitted-out replicas. Akron (Ohio) Children's Hospital used the same strategy in the design of its new location and created full-scale departmental mock-ups of its emergency department, ambulatory surgery department and neonatal intensive care unit. Both hospitals also included clinical staff to weigh in on the designs

The strategy also has been seen on display at 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 Children's Hospital of Michigan–Troy, Larry Gold, former CEO of Children's Hospital of Michigan, says that its staff benefited greatly from using mock designs to practice workflow processes before it opened its new facility earlier this year. 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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