2 tips on Health Care
1. The Intersection of Evidence-Based Design and Green
Today’s tip is about considering how the ideas of evidence-based design and sustainability may intersect in health care facilities.
Evidence-based design is the idea that particular design and operation strategies in health care facilities can have a positive effect on patient outcome and worker productivity. Recently, the idea that green design strategies and evidence-based design strategies are complementary has taken off.
For example, a study titled “The Impact of Light on Outcomes in Healthcare Settings” by The Center for Health Design in 2006 concluded that “adequate and appropriate exposure to light is critical for health and well-being of patients as well as staff in health care settings. Natural light should be incorporated into lighting design in health care settings, not only because it is beneficial to patients and staff, but also because it is light delivered at no cost and in a form that most people prefer.”
Natural light also reduces the need for artificial light, which reduces energy use – a green strategy.
On the operations side, one example of the evidence-based design / green intersection is green cleaning practices. More specifically, reducing disinfectants, which are toxic by design, by differentiating areas within the facility which don’t really need to be disinfected, such as administrative areas, waiting room, hallways, restrooms and other nonclinical areas.
By identifying the high-touch and critical care areas that specifically do require disinfectant, and using it only in those areas, indoor air quality is improved and health issues related to disinfectant can be reduced.
2. Metrics Should Track Multiple Parameters
I’m Ed Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today’s topic is the value of having facility metrics that track multiple parameters.
One of the key goals of metrics is to link facility performance with an outcome that is important to the organization. A case in point is the Press Ganey survey, a tool widely used in health care to rate patient satisfaction.
Press Ganey scores often record an increase in patient satisfaction with the physical environment when a room is remodeled. That makes Press Ganey scores potentially useful for justifying investments in facilities. But even in a hospital, patient satisfaction scores don’t tell the whole story.
In one case, a hospital made a significant upgrade in its cafeteria. The facility executive waited for patient satisfaction scores to rise – but they refused to budge. That was a disappointment to the facility executives until he looked at another set of metrics and saw that employee satisfaction had jumped. That’s an important issue in health care, and the gains on that scale showed that the investment in the cafeteria had paid off.
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