Putting Patients First: Design for the Patient Experience



For the creation of tomorrow’s healthcare facilities, designers are looking to the patient—a holistic approach to design that not only addresses the patients’ needs, but also collaborates with them at the outset.  The result: design that promotes healing-- driven by the patient experience.  To gain more insight into this process, we spoke with designers and industry leaders who shared their thoughts on some key factors within this trend: a focus on the patient experience and the spaces that define healthcare environments. 

Engaging the Patient
As consumers we can all envision how we want a product to look and feel.  These factors impact our decision-making process, and ultimately, our experience.  Patient-centered design offers these same opportunities within healthcare spaces.  Engaging the patient and the patients’ family expands the performance of a space, enhances the experience, and gives patients control.  It creates an environment of collaboration and inclusion.  Learning how caregivers use space influences functionality, and learning how patients feel within a space impacts design.  These lessons are integral to the process.  Today’s healthcare facilities are actively working to improve the patient experience, creating environments that are welcoming and healing, while supporting the patients and caregivers to promote overall health inside and out.

Designing for a System of Support
The spaces that define the healthcare system play a number of critical roles in the health and well-being of patients and families.  Designing a space around the patient offers a system of support that goes beyond traditional healthcare design.  It takes into consideration the full spectrum of care; adapting and reimagining spaces to create better environments for those who use them most.  

Creating Space to Heal
Patient-centered design is an important trend within the evolving healthcare design industry, and taking a shifted approach to traditional design methods can positively influence outcomes.  By integrating patients, families, caregivers, staff and healthcare providers, designers are collaborating to create comforting spaces and implementing environments that facilitate healing.  And this is how we design to transform healthcare for the future—working together to create space to heal.         

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Photographed: Legacy Community Health’s Fifth Ward Clinic
 | Houston, Texas | Aker Imaging
Design by: Kirksey Architecture, DE Harvey Builders