Medical Construction & Design

MAY-JUN 2018

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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42 Medical Construction & Design | M AY/ J U N E 2018 | MCDM AG.COM Collecting the data To lay the groundwork for testing those hypotheses, we undertook a series of data gathering exercises geared toward inform- ing design interventions. That eff ort began with a staff survey, which surfaced three key insights: the waiting area did not re- fl ect the Brentwood Community, patients were displeased with the wait times and patients were unhappy with the unwel- coming environment. Next, a behavioral mapping exercise uncovered how people used Unity's wait- ing area. During the process, clear patterns began to crystallize around personal boundaries: patients often chose large bariatric-style seating, or they spread out belongings across two or three seats. Patterns also emerged regarding where people sat, with seating near the registra- tion area and call points being preferred. Furthermore, the waiting area wasn't set up to support the entire process; many people struggled to fi nd space to complete forms and others paced across the room while waiting on their rides. The mapping exercise also revealed it was hard for people to chat with other community members due to a less than optimal seating arrangement. But as dis- covered during the literature review, those seemingly inconsequential conversations between neighbors are, in actuality, quite important. It turns out that engagement between patients in waiting rooms can have a positive impact on health. Thus, we sought to better facilitate patient-to- patient communications. There were larger issues regarding how the community could connect in and with the space. To address those matters, a community engagement event was held as the fi nal step in data collection eff orts. During the event, participants described Brentwood in their own words, generated specifi c ideas for improving the waiting room and voiced opinions on color and pattern preferences. Participants also embarked on an exercise where magnetic cutouts of words were used to create inspirational messaging — such as "reach above awesome" and "grow" — that could be incorporated into the space. Developing design interventions After sifting through the trove of data that emerged from collection exercises, fi ve de- sign-intervention strategies were devised: defi ne personal space, encourage commu- nication, clarify the process, support the process and refl ect the community. To defi ne personal space, new furnish- ings were brought in — with particular emphasis on providing additional wide seats — and a new seating layout was created that enabled the seat count to be raised from 40 to 47. Spacing between seats was increased and elements were incorporated such as fabric panels to defi ne boundaries. Designing conversa- tional seating arrangements interspersed From left: During a community engagement event, inspirational messaging — such as "reach above awesome" and "grow" — was gathered to be incorporated into the revamped waiting area at one of Unity Health Care's federally qualifi ed health centers in the Washington, D.C. area. > Art representative of the community can enhance staff happiness.

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