Attendees of the 2012 Healthcare Design Conference held recently at the Phoenix Convention Center were privy to a unique showcase: the first “Patient Experience Simulation Lab” allowing small groups of designers, hospital administrators and other healthcare stakeholders to experience a virtual tour of unfriendly design features compared to an actual tour of a “patient-empowered room.”
The full-scale model was the result of a design competition that the Institute for Patient-Centered Design held to gather best practice ideas from healthcare designers. The winning submission, created by Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater, came to fruition with the help of DWL Architects + Planners which created the construction documents, i-Frame Building Solutions which provided the walls for the room model, and Kitchell which built the mock-up.
“We are empathetic builders – looking at each project by putting ourselves in the patient role,” said Kitchell Healthcare Division Manager Steve Whitworth. “That’s why participating in this project was so intriguing.”
The project was built in two short days in a 2,000 SF space, leaving room for facilitated discussions and a virtual experience alongside the model. The popular workshops, which took place throughout the conference, engaged a diverse group of patients, designers, clinicians and other healthcare stakeholders in a collaborative exchange for improving the patient environment of care.
Featuring color selections indigenous to Arizona – even a back-lit picture window that emulated a grassy hospital courtyard area — the room allowed participants to experience the inpatient room from the perspective of the end users, moving about the space while assuming the role of the patient or family member in a pre-determined scenario. Feedback from the sessions will be included in ongoing research that will result in new evidence-based design tools for patient room design.
“This room is not the patient room of the future; but, rather a laboratory for examining the impact of design features on the patient experience,” said the Institute’s Tammy Thompson. “We were able to usher through those who are responsible for building hospitals and share patient insights in a collaborative environment, providing powerful feedback from practicing nurses, real patients and their families.”