What Dictates Design Trends in Healthcare Facilities?

hospital hallway

The architecture, layout and design of modern healthcare facilities has evolved over the past century. Facilities today are unrecognizable when compared to those that were built even 50 years ago. This is because new design trends are changing the way designers and architects approach new facility builds. What is dictating these changes? These are the four factors that are changing the way modern facilities are constructed.

#1: Regulations

Just as HIPAA dictates the internal processes of those who operate in the healthcare field, federal, state and local regulations all affect the overall layout and design of healthcare facilities. From local building and fire codes all the way up to regulations set forth by federal law (i.e. the Americans with Disabilities Act), there are statutes that designers and architects must follow to maintain compliance. Some of the nationwide regulatory entities who have put forth guidelines that facilities must follow include: 

  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) 

  • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

  • Facility Guideline Institute (FGI)

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

These regulations require creative solutions put forth by healthcare companies in order to create attractive and effective facilities while staying within regulatory boundaries. 

#2: Evidence-Based Practices

Once all regulations have been met, evidence-based practices become the second most important determinant of the hospital design process. Key studies throughout the past 50 years have dramatically changed the ways facilities are constructed, designed and even decorated. Everything from the color of a facility to how it uses space and even the types of hospital whiteboards they use in their patient rooms has been enhanced through rigorous study and evidence-based practices over the years. 

A few other design practices that changed over the years using evidence-based design practices include:

As new studies emerge that demonstrate how certain design features can enhance the patient experience, the design of hospitals will continue to change over the years. 

#3: Staff Productivity

Hospitals are large places, and staff can cover an exorbitant amount of ground in a single shift. As busy as nurses, physicians and even custodial staff are, a large amount of their time each day is spent traveling, which reduces productivity and the quality of patient care. It's estimated that nurses take almost 1,000 steps per hour during a normal shift. Custodians take about 1,200. That's why facility architects are taking steps to design more travel friendly facilities that help hospital staff get where they need to go more quickly.

Architects are designing patient wards for better traffic flow, laying out rooms and shaping buildings to make travel easier. Building organization, including the location of nursing stations, storage closets, hand-washing stations and many other critical resources, is rapidly changing as architects better understand the needs of nurses and other hospital staff. 

#4: The Patient Experience 

Last, but certainly not least, is patient experience. Almost everything a facility does derives from patient satisfaction and HCAHPS scores. The very reimbursements they receive from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) are often dependent on patient satisfaction surveys. Facilities are also in mad dash to modernize their design and how they treat patients, often emulating the look and feel of hotels rooms, rather than traditional hospitals. 

Patients have more choices in healthcare providers and facilities than they ever have before, and hospitals have taken notice. If they can design better facilities that make patients more satisfied with their stay, they will earn more business, more reimbursements and greater longevity. 

How are hospitals improving the patient experience and satisfaction scores? Many changes being made in facilities across the country. Designers and architects are incorporating residential design trends that are making facilities more modern, cleaner, easier to navigate and more soundproof. The implementation of communication tools like custom whiteboards are also being used to facilitate a more patient-centered focus when it comes to treatment. 

Design Trends with Hospital Whiteboards

New trends come and go, but all the top hospitals in the country leave room for high quality whiteboards that enhance the patient experience. Using custom whiteboards helps designers place boards in any facility, regardless of the design, brand, etc. Learn more about VividBoard's custom whiteboard options.