Medical Construction & Design

JUL-AUG 2017

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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MCDM AG.COM | J U LY/AUGUST 2017 | Medical Construction & Design 33 Research continues by leading a diverse group of staff , care providers and industry experts through a SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness- es, opportunities and threats). This internal and external review includes questions such as, "What are the facility's needs and defi ciencies?" and "What are the factors aff ect- ing your work load?" This type of inquiry ultimately ensures that staff and care providers are focusing on the patient experience and care delivery, and don't get off track and into the business side of healthcare (obviously important, but not the underlying purpose of this exercise). The key is to recruit an array of staff (often called "users"), providers and clinical engineering experts to take the survey, and concentrate on how to improve care delivery. A quality SWOT test should include a balance of critical and favorable responses for each category. The analysis is imbalanced if the responses focus only on positive aspects, although that outcome is quite common. Through the SWOT analy- sis, leaders aim to understand each unit, facility and region, as healthcare does vary. In ad- dition, leaders should conduct an annual SWOT analysis as part of continuous quality im- provement, to promote a Lean operations model. Industry leaders also seek to determine various rates of change across their healthcare system or facility. Each clinical division, func- tional area and service line has incrementally changed by a certain amount over the years, and the challenge today is to extrapolate this rate of change into a fi ve- or 10-year forecast. Considering how to achieve the best care outcomes by providing the highest possible quality diagnostics and thera- peutics is integral to success. Flexible space + technology The key to fl exibility is provid- ing spaces that are adaptable rather than designing spaces that are unique and fi xed, since healthcare is constantly chang- ing with improved techniques and new technology. Flexible spaces can support one func- tion today and another func- tion next year. Why should a radiologist's room be 5 by 8 when it could be more fl exible at 8 by 10? Nevertheless, in many healthcare facilities to- day, space tends to be custom- ized rather than fl exible. This fl exibility not only depends on the space, but the containment walls of the space. Are the walls easily moved or dense with infrastructure? Although cubicle design is modular and adaptable to change, because of HIPPA privacy concerns, noise distraction and the need to accommodate family members as part of the process at every step, cubicles in healthcare are giving way to private rooms. Exam rooms also factor into planning. Since examina- tion needs vary signifi cantly from patient to patient, exam room functions are minimized to a sink for clean technique, a place to extract gloves and a location for waste. As a result, storage of other materi- als or supplies is minimized substantially and the exam room is optimized, allowing space for the patient, the clini- cal provider or care manager and signifi cant others. Mobile, fl exible computer stations with access to electronic records also add to the simple, adapt- able modular spatial fl exibility and permit direct attention to the patient. New private open registration areas that respond to the need for barrier-free access provide required privacy when discussing all aspects of care.

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