Two organizations have developed tools to gauge patient satisfaction with the physical environment in acute-care settings.
The Center for Health Design, based in Martinez, Calif., and the Picker Institute, Boston, will release the measurement tools, which include a video, a checklist and a patient survey, at the Symposium on Healthcare Design, set for Nov. 19 through Nov. 22 in San Francisco.
Through focus group interviews with more than 100 people in Boston; St. Paul, Minn.;, and Washington, the Picker Institute found that patients and family members want an environment that:
Helps them connect with the staff.
Is conducive to a sense of well-being.
Is convenient and accessible.
Promotes confidentiality and privacy.
Shows care of the family.
Is considerate of impairments.
Facilitates a connection to the outside world.
Is safe and secure.
Patients in intensive-care units, for example, said they preferred a round nurses station, so they could be equally accessible to the nurses from any room in the unit, according to data from the Picker Institute.
The physical environment can even make a difference in which hospital a patient chooses, said Wayne Ruga, founder, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Health Design.
"The environment can be part of a healthcare organization's strategic marketing investment to influence where healthcare dollars are spent," Ruga said. "For example, it is not uncommon for prospective parents to tour labor and delivery units at different hospitals to decide where they will have their child."
Symposium attendees will receive copies of the tools as part of their conference registration fee. The tools also are available from the Picker Institute.
The Center for Health Design, founded in 1986, is a not-for-profit organization.