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Coordinate Interior Enhancement Program With Interior Guidelines To Maximize Patient Satisfaction Benefit

By Sue Pi and John D'Angelo - April 2014 - Health Care Facilities


Implementing an interior appearance enhancement program should be coordinated with a specific interior guideline — a design standard for interior finishes, fixtures, and furniture. These guidelines can be structurally packaged and duplicated as a renovation formula that incorporates interior finishes, temperature comfort, proper acoustics, indoor air quality, furniture ergonomics, technology, life safety, ADA accessibility, energy efficiency, environmental safety, and maintainability. The standardized image, function, and performance guidelines provide benefits beyond renewal: Guidelines ensure that any major renovation contributes to the hospital's branding goal and provides spaces conducive to improving healthcare services while at the same time dealing with the existing constraints of the buildings. The optimal design and build templates should provide guidance for the design and construction of both new and existing buildings.

The ultimate goal is to unify new and existing facilities while offering environmental and social elements that benefit not only the building occupants, but also the general public and surrounding community. The interior enhancement implementation strategy is to work in collaboration with other network-wide departments and programs in order to ensure the optimal patient care process with comfort, accessibility, and legibility of signage.

Clearly, building from the ground up with advanced technology, high-end finishes, vast open spaces, and high-ceiling lobbies is the most effective way to achieve a strong first impression. However, to make that impression last, and to keep the patient experience positive, a strong "last impression" is also part of the equation. The entire patient travel path should appear well-kept and professional, and all furnishings should be aesthetically compatible. Patients will think more highly of facilities if these positives are in place. The reality is that the majority of healthcare facilities have to deal with aging facilities that are near the end of their life cycles. Refurbishing these outdated and stressed interior environments requires work to provide a visually pleasing space, and durable materials to extend much needed wear and tear to meet today's economic climate.

Evidence-based-design research demonstrates that the physical environment can have a substantial impact on the performance of the caregiver and the wellbeing of the patient. To maximize the impact, an effective healthcare facilities improvement plan is essential. The underlying goal of all healthcare business practice is to ensure benefit to both the patient service mission and the strategic goals of the network or enterprise. Focus and discipline are required to initiate the refurbishment program, with recalibration and continuous improvement following a structured execution methodology. However, the needs of the environment of care and patient population will not remain static as new initiatives are rolled out. Flexibility and refinement are just as important, but there must be balance — an organization must first establish a baseline and then move forward in achievable incremental phases.

The FACE program has taught valuable lessons. Actual experience is used in future planning and implementation for a more efficient delivery of a superior healing environment. This type of renewal provides measurable results that help New York-Presbyterian Hospital to remain among the top academic medical centers in the nation.

A well maintained and attractive facility improves the hospital's overall quality while establishing branding among all campuses and buildings. It attracts not only patients, but also top-rated medical providers and strengthens employee morale. When combined with other factors as important and personal to medical care seekers such as staff friendliness, facility image and cleanliness, it will greatly influence whether the patients and caregivers choose your facilities as "their hospital."

Sue Pi, LEED AP, is the interior infrastructure program leader for facilities operations at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is responsible for leading, planning, and executing FACE, the facilities aesthetic condition enhancement program.

John D'Angelo, PE, CHFM, CHEP, is the vice president of facilities operations at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He is responsible for maintaining safe and compliant facilities and infrastructure across all campuses and overseeing business operations, energy policies, strategic engineering planning, and regulatory compliance. He also has an integral role in the implementation of the eight-year capital plan.





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