As the healthcare industry continues its rapid transformation, many discussions focus on controlling costs, declining reimbursement, and effecting operational efficiencies that save money. To achieve true transformation in healthcare, however, the facilities in which care is delivered must transform.
Hospital design has changed little over the years, leading to significant inefficiencies in how care is provided in today’s world. Many models of design have been adapted, yet nurses still travel miles every day hunting and gathering supplies. As the industry transforms to meet the needs of the economic climate, Novant Health has recognized the need to adapt to a new care delivery model — gaining operational efficiency and saving costs as a result. Unfortunately, traditional hospital design is not aligned with the new care delivery model.
In 2009, Novant Health gathered together nurses, physicians, architects, information technology specialists and other experts to discuss ways the system could transform hospitals and care delivery in its facilities by standardizing hospital design. The team created the Novant Health Prototypical Design Model, a blueprint for designing and building new hospitals, and expanding and upgrading existing facilities. Prototypical design facilities are less expensive to build and provide additional savings once constructed because of built-in efficiencies and present environments centered on highly efficient, highly effective patient care.
“Focusing on our patients and caregivers, and making sure that the space is compatible with how we are caring for our customers is what it’s all about,” explains Laura MacFadden, vice president of design and construction for Novant Health. “Otherwise, it’s just a room.”
Novant Health’s first full hospital designed using the prototypical concepts opened in 2014 in northern Virginia. Novant Health Haymarket Medical Center is a 60-bed community hospital that provides comprehensive services. Newly designed rooms move away from the traditional rectangle shape to private, square-shaped rooms that allow for greater maneuverability around a patient bed and space for families to stay in the hospital room with their loved ones.
By moving medicines and supplies from central stock rooms to areas near patient rooms where the items are actually used, the facility saves nearly 400 shift minutes per day hunting for supplies, time that can now be spent at the bedside. Greener lighting design and a focus on decreased water usage are helping to keep overhead costs down so those resources can be invested in patient care.
Expansion projects at Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center and Novant Health Matthews Medical Center (both located in the greater-Charlotte, N.C. area) incorporate standardized design elements. Facilities in Clemmons and Mint Hill will also incorporate items from the prototypical toolkit, as well as Novant Health design standards.
“By creating a menu of design options that are standardized, efficient and patient-centric, Novant Health has committed to making innovative strides toward improving the patient experience in our facilities,” says MacFadden. “The efficiencies created allow us to reinvest resources in healthcare solutions that bring the best outcomes for the most affordable cost for our patients.”