As health systems seek new ways to improve the patient experience and promote inclusivity, the environment within their facilities has become a major consideration. White walls, fluorescent lighting and complicated floor plans are signs of the past.
Heeding a call for change is a group of interior designers and architects exploring how to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into their work. Past efforts have focused on concerns such as privacy, noise and lighting. But recent projects take a more personalized approach that incorporates patient and community input to tailor spaces to their specific needs.
There’s a financial incentive too. Personalization helps providers score higher on patient surveys that affect how much Medicare and Medicaid pay them.
Oregon Health and Science University’s Elks Children’s Eye Clinic in Portland was built with different eye conditions in mind to ensure the space is easy to navigate. In New York, a women’s health center is filled with fixtures and artwork designed almost exclusively by women.
“It changes the way you start,” said Greg Swinton, senior associate at architecture firm NBBJ. “You want to start with a relationship with the people you are actually designing for.”