Healthcare settings are notoriously tough to manage. Facilities managers must not only cope with unexpected amounts of demand and a wide range of needs, but they must also work in a variety of environments. A general treatment room can be anything from a triage station to a location for ultrasounds, inoculations, and other procedures. An MRI room, on the other hand, cannot be used for anything other than what it was created for. Because of the sheer amount of factors at play, designing a healthcare facility is a challenging but necessary task.
How can hospital space planners account for the many unpredictable variables while building agile, accessible, and available space? It takes a substantial amount of resources, such as healthcare space design software, merchandising solutions and high-quality equipment. Putting together the puzzle pieces in a facility that meets the demands of the local community is a full-time, ever-changing endeavour.
What does healthcare facility space planning serve? To ensure that every patient has access to the medical treatment they need, when they need it, and that medical workers can deliver that care with as few physical barriers as possible.
What exactly is healthcare space planning?
The practise of repurposing space to meet the needs of those who utilise it is known as space planning. It comprises space planners allocating and maximising space for treating patients so that physicians can deliver treatment.
Consider a hospital’s oncology wing. What proportion of the wing should be devoted to testing facilities? What is the cost of chemotherapy? How much space should be set out for waiting areas for family and caregivers? When designing space, hospitals must account for these demands. As a result, they ensure that people in need always have access to adequate amenities.
In healthcare institutions, space planning occurs at the macro level as well. Locating the radiography department near the orthopaedic wing, for example, may serve to improve interaction between these two business groups. This has an impact on both patient and physician navigability. The shorter the distance between linked parts of the hospital, the better.
HIPAA compliance and safety are also important considerations in space planning. It all comes down to traffic flow management and establishing access points between vital sectors.
Benefits of Healthcare Space Planning
Bringing healthcare institutions together through thoughtful space planning benefits both patients and clinicians. On a practical level, space planners can be said to have done well if the facility looks like this:
- Improved facility availability to meet the needs of patients
- It will be easier to use for patients, families, and healthcare professionals.
- Faster-paced operations that benefit from a more streamlined layout
- Physicians can use facilities that help them give better patient care.
- In well-planned spaces, there is increased safety, security, and privacy.
- Fewer facility overlaps and disturbances ensure smoother encounters.
- Because of smart space planning, healthcare facilities are more easily accessible. Patients and visitors will know exactly where to go to find what they’re looking for, and those who rely on the facilities will receive the care they require in an environment tailored specifically for them.
Healthcare space planning facilitates administrative space utilisation for facility management. Because the capacity of hospitals and other healthcare institutions is limited, it is vital to make the best use of merchandising solutions and available space. Planning drives execution, providing managers with the foundation they need to manage facilities on an as-needed basis.
How might hospital space planning software help?
Hospitals operate around the clock, with a steady ebb and flow of need and demand. Real-time space planning software provides the capabilities and resources required to satisfy fluctuating demand levels. It delivers geographical insights to facility administrators, resulting in better decision-making and, eventually, better patient care.
Space planning is classified into two types: proactive and reactive. Proactive planning requires recognising demand for space and adjusting facilities. If the haematology department is overburdened, it may be essential to take over the adjacent phlebotomy lab and move phlebotomy to a bedside practise. It is all about appropriately estimating facility operational demands and balancing space.
Reactive space planning is concerned with meeting the ongoing need for space. If the hospital outsources more pathology to a third-party lab, the pathology department may be converted into a new dialysis department to better meet the growing number of patients who require this therapy.
Proactive and reactive space planning are both possible using space planning software. Depending on how it is used, facility managers may use it to test new floor patterns, evaluate space allocation, and contextualise space. Most importantly, software enables more responsive space design in increasingly dynamic healthcare environments.
Allow for the greatest patient care possible.
Well-planned and agile healthcare facilities have a ripple effect. Wait times for treatment and diagnostics will be minimised. Patients and their family will be less stressed when they tour facilities. All aspects of safety, accessibility, and HIPAA compliance have been enhanced. Everything arises from how facility managers source the correct equipment and merchandising solutions, arrange and purpose space, and govern such locations.
Additional choices for space planning emerge as healthcare demand develops and hospitals become more dynamic and adaptable. Some healthcare facilities are still defined by a single area and function, but for all others, there are various options to meet patient demand. The way forward for healthcare in the future is to design for dynamic, multifunctional settings.