The perceived quality of patients’ experience during their hospital stay is more important than ever due to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) and its potential impact on reimbursements.

Fortunately, hospitals can improve their quality initiatives through judicious management and operation along with making some simple, smart design choices that make patients feel they had a positive experience. 

From critical compliance issues to patient comfort, hospitals are embracing placemaking — the art and science of creating welcoming spaces — to shape the overall patient and family experience, according to a report by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Inc., a real estate management and planning services company with a health care division.  

A recent JLL report, "Placemaking and facilities: A key to patient satisfaction," reveals how design and maintenance details — from ventilation systems to room fixtures — can play a critical role in ensuring patient safety, reducing hospital-associated infections and also creating a comfortable, secure environment.

“The design and management of facilities has a direct impact on broader organizational efforts to improve patient experience and outcomes while managing the cost of care,” says George Mills, director of health care technical operations, JLL.

“A hospital can employ the best medical staff around, but that can be overshadowed when patients come in to find paint chipping off the wall or a leaky pipe in the bathroom; it sends a certain message about the administration’s attention to detail,” Mills says.

Health care organizations that assess and budget for regular interior improvements can dramatically impact the safety and satisfaction of both patients and staff, the report states.

“Viewing the physical condition of facilities through a broader lens can help to put issues in the right context for leadership,” Mills says. “The key question is, ‘Do our facilities create a culture of quality and safety?’"

Automating facility management systems and creating a central documentation repository are important tools for facility leaders, JLL reports. Together they give the management team a more active role in responding to critical facilities-related issues to achieve and maintain compliance and an optimal patient experience.

“It’s critical for hospitals to centralize facility management and maintenance issues in order to prioritize risks appropriately and proactively address them,” Mills says.

“When you automate compliance and reporting processes, both management and facility teams can focus on the big issues and ensure [that] efforts are strategically aligned with broader organizational goals,” says Peter Bulgarelli, executive managing director, JLL’s health care group. “A centralized system can bring greater rigor and speed to how organizations approach facility problems.” 

The report adds that effective health care organizations engage in active placemaking to deliver on health care’s Triple Aim of improving patient experiences, improving population health and reducing the per capita cost of health care.

Some of the top ways they strive to achieve placemaking are improving wayfinding, offering connectivity through Wi-Fi, reducing noise, and making art and warm colors part of the environment.

For the full report, go to