When it comes to improving the efficiency of a health care facility, or any facility really, the best way to find the solutions you’re looking for is to ask the people on the front lines. A new study from Health Facilities Management shows the importance of getting feedback from staff before you start your next health care construction project. 

This survey polled health care staff members from a wide range of levels. The information gained through this report gives important insights into where the problems are and what’s being done to fix them.

The first step is to identify what the biggest problems are. The survey, which comprised more than 240 hospitals nationwide evenly split among rural, urban and suburban facilities showed the top three workflow efficiency issues in health care facilities are: long throughput times, breakdowns in staff communication, and delays in patient care.

Once the problems are identified, solutions can be created. The top three construction design solutions health care facilities are embracing are: standardization throughout the facility, ambient environmental controls (lighting and acoustic), and team work spaces to support collaboration.

While these three solutions don’t directly address the top three problems, there is some crossover.

“When you have a standardized layout throughout the hospital and a flexible modular approach that allows you to change out the furniture, to move the medical equipment, etc., it really gives the hospital more freedom — especially if more change is coming down the road,” says Joseph Sprague principal and senior vice president at HKS.

Overall, the survey gave us several insights to consider as we continue to work with leading health care providers in the area. We’re excited to see what trends lead to more efficiencies as we get an opportunity to implement a few of the suggestions found in this report.