Healthcare Facility Design to Enable Better Patient Care

Healthcare Facility Design to Enable Better Patient Care

Recently, I completed my Fisher Global Service Fellowship as an American Red Cross volunteer placed within the Central Ohio VA Ambulatory Care Center. Based on the growing challenges mental/behavioral healthcare poses for the VA, the VA has started a new focus on team oriented care. This model, the Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program (BHIP), brings together a team of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Nurses, and Social Workers with the same group of patients to collaborate on the best method of care for their Veteran patients. The benefits this model can bring to Veterans include continuity of Veteran-centered care to prevent Veterans from getting “lost in the system” and not completing their care. However, given the growth the Central Ohio VA has experienced, the facility’s behavioral health area had little space to allow the correct team working environment for this new model. Therefore, the VA identified that it would need a renovated lease space to place 4 of the 5 BHIP Teams together in a facility dedicated to BHIP. I came onto the project to help them determine the best way to layout this new facility in order to emphasize co-location of BHIP team members, as well as enable smooth patient flow.  I also determined the needs of the facility from an industrial engineering facility design and planning perspective. These needs would help determine a course of action for the facility to take in order to activate the following summer (6 months later).

So what does it take to start up a new facility? 

There is a lot that goes into a facility, from the “big” items like:

  • Determining what rooms need to go into the facility
  • How big those rooms need to be?
  • What kind of volume they expect?
  • What healthcare providers will be placed into this facility?

However, there are “little” needs as well:

  • Who will order the signs for outside the rooms?
  • What will they say?
  • When will they be ordered?
  • How much will they be?
  • How many fire extinguishers and AEDs are needed in the building?
  • How do we obtain them?
  • Who will maintain and test them?
  • What’s the official name of the facility?

Just look around the room you are in right now, there are a lot of things (big and small) that need to be brought together to make the facility you’re in happen!

To learn more about this experience and what goes into planning and designing a facility see the full white paper!

Be on the lookout for a future blog that will go into more details on the Facility Layout, Design & Planning process as well as updates to how this facility is progressing. Please feel free to contact me at with any questions or interest in learning more about facility planning and design!

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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