Up to 50% of patients today are admitted to a hospital via the Emergency Department (ED).  This new front door to the hospital requires Administrators to rethink the relationship the ED has to the rest of the hospital, and as a result, are struggling to find the right solution.

The Evidence Based Design Process

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From the growing needs and expectations of the baby boomer generation, antiquated infrastructure, and healthcare reform, an Evidence Based Design (EBD) approach can make the chaotic emergency department a bygone entity.  Healthcare architecture which incorporates evidence based design will create safe and therapeutic environments for patients and enhance family participation.  Therefore, a research based approach to utilizing EBD as a solution to support your hospital mission can improve patient safety and clinical outcomes by decreasing the number of patient falls, nosocomial infections and medical errors.

An organization's survival may very well depend on the integration of the best practices of EBD.  With the push as a result of healthcare reform and the competitive environment of the future; which will include very well informed technology savvy consumers, will require hospital administrators to reconsider how their emergency departments are be designed.  Seeking to improve patient throughput, patient safety and customer satisfaction should be the number one goal.  So when planning a new or renovating your existing ED, here a few evidence based design principals you must incorporate.

Same Handed Rooms 

Traditionally, hospital design would incorporate a mirrored design for multiple procedure rooms and trauma rooms, which was a reaction to economy and cost savings. However, same handed rooms make the layout of every room identical. This allows physicians and nurses to use the space more intuitively, which reduces medical errors.  Understanding the unique needs of the medical staff is crucial and reducing mistakes will add value to the bottom line.

Efficiency and Decentralization

The relationship and space between the central nurse station, treatment rooms, medi-prep and utility rooms are crucial.  Extra distances between these spaces take away from valuable patient contact and needlessly exhaust staff. The lean work process of decentralization is the new normal.  For example, equipment and supplies are now stored outside rooms which reduces the time staff are searching for supplies and increases the time at the patient's bedside.

Noise Reduction

Noise in healthcare facilities is a major contributor to stress for patients. It also creates a negative distraction for caregivers.  Typically noise and patient privacy are the number one complaints in hospitals, and in emergency departments it is an even larger issue.  Utilizing walls with a high noise reduction coefficient and appropriately incorporating proper finish selections for flooring, walls and ceilings will yield the best possible outcomes and enhance the patient experience.

The role EBD plays in the overall layout of an emergency department cannot be overlooked.  A reduction in medical errors through the incorporation of same handed rooms, improving the quality time staff spends with a patient through decentralization and an increase in patient satisfaction with noise reduction will all add significant value to your next project. Thus, EBD is an innovative solution to supporting a hospital's mission.

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