Can a facility's design improve patient safety?

September 1, 2006

That's what St. Joseph's Hospital in Wisconsin is hoping. The 80-bed, $55-million facility, which opened in August 2005, was constructed with patient safety in mind. According to American Medical News (3/27/06), a 2004 literature review found strong patient-safety evidence for certain "health care design elements," all of which were implemented by St. Joseph's. These design elements include:

That's what St. Joseph's Hospital in Wisconsin is hoping. The 80-bed, $55-million facility, which opened in August 2005, was constructed with patient safety in mind. According to American Medical News (3/27/06), a 2004 literature review found strong patient-safety evidence for certain "health care design elements," all of which were implemented by St. Joseph's. These design elements include:

Over the next year and a half, St. Joseph's will use part of a $1.5 million research grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality to determine if the design-along with the implementation of a new IT system-will improve patient safety, quality, and efficiency. Although it may be impossible to separate the design's impact from that of the new IT system, the lead researcher for the study is confident that the design elements implemented by St. Joseph's will have a positive impact on safety outcomes.