Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 24


C THE CENTER | 02.14
The year of the environmental audit
Four steps offer owners a plan for action to deliver a better patient experience
By Rosalyn Cama
Happy New Year! What's on your list of resolutions?
Health and organization seem to top most of our
lists-and no one more so than healthcare facility
owners. What if you could combine both health and
organization into a plan that would transform your
healthcare facility into a place of well-being? Here
are four steps to achieve an easy environmental
audit that can lead to a new plan for action.
Articulate
Consider your brand promise to your customer
base, the distillation of the public relations message
that's sent to patients and families as well as your
clinical staff. What is it that you convey in your print,
broadcast, and electronic media to express your
brand promise? Ask yourself what type of facility
delivers such a service? Can you see in your mind's
eye the interior design needed? If you can, then so
does your customer. Can you deliver that expectation to them in their next clinical visit? Articulate the
facility design that can deliver on their expectation.
Hypothesize
Hypothesize the outcomes of health that are achievable through interior design and maintenance.
Knowing which questions to ask is the hardest part
of an evidence-based design methodology. Frame
health as a state of well-being and then seek one
major facility-related outcome, such as lowering stress and anxiety. If patients can begin their
healthcare journey with a series of clues that the
experience, no matter the medical outcome, will be
personal and with their best interests in mind, then
their perception of care will be elevated.
Audit
Conduct a visual audit of your facility's first impression. As he built the University Medical Center at
Princeton of Plainsboro in Plainsboro Township,
N.J., CEO Barry Rabner followed a mantra that
experiences are formed into impressions "in the first
60 seconds up the drive, and the first 6 feet in the
front door." Those impressions create the perceptions of the care that's to follow. Like most healthcare facilities, first impressions are usually overwhelming, complex, and rarely calming. Can you
map the promised experience for different populations by taking a simple walk around and noting

24

HCDmagazine.com 02.14

where the contradictions are? A walkthrough
like this will identify the low-hanging fruit to inform a plan that can align your brand with your
desired outcomes.

Consider your brand promise to your
customer base. What type of facility
delivers such a service?
Edit
Less is more, to quote a famous Bauhaus
architect. Take your experience map and attack just a few issues. For instance, look at
wayfinding. Start by taking down any paper
signs taped to a wall and replace them with
a more permanent solution, and clarify key
decision points by adding distinctive landmarks
like a recognizable work of art. Or think about
providing positive distractions where patients
need it most-in patient, exam, and waiting
rooms-with a real or artistic gesture of nature.
Simple edits like these begin to reshape your
facility image as more patient-centered. As
you develop next year's capital projects list,
consider more complex edits as well as adding
new policies that allow you to educate staff
about how interior design affects outcomes.
Putting it together
These four steps will allow you to take a fresher
look at delivering a better customer experience. First, articulate your brand; second,
hypothesize the experience needed to deliver
the expectation of your brand; third, audit your
facilities to match that expectation into a perception; and fourth, edit away toward a clear
and focused evidence-based patient experience that will raise satisfaction levels. HCD
Rosalyn Cama, FASID, EDAC, is president and
principal interior designer of Cama Inc. (New
Haven, Conn.). She is the board of directors
chair for The Center for Health Design and can
be reached at rcama@camainc.com.

Rosalyn Cama


http://www.HCDmagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthcare Design - January 2014

Contents
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - Cover1
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - Cover2
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 1
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 2
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 3
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - Contents
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 5
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 6
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - 7
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Healthcare Design - January 2014 - Cover3
Healthcare Design - January 2014 - Cover4
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