The healthcare industry is booming, and companies around the world are building new hospitals or renovating old ones in order to meet the demand. One important part of hospital construction and design is ensuring the flow of doctors, patients, and nurses is as smooth as possible. Additionally, care must be taken to follow all local and federal regulations. This involves the careful coordination of hospital executives, builders, architects, and even the staff themselves.
A Flowing Floor Plan
Hospitals are designed with the needs of the entire building in mind. Doctors and nurses have to move between laboratories and other highly sterile areas and more administrative areas, and there is a constant flow of patients, janitors, maintenance workers, and other staff members moving in and out of the building and between parts. Building designers must ensure that some of this building flow is contained to keep areas as sterile as they need to be. This includes managing the outflow of trash so that it does not clash with the inflow of supplies or the movement of patients, keeping outpatient areas as separate as possible from inpatient areas, and separating administrative areas from more medical focused ones.
Privacy Is Key
The HIPPA Privacy Rule mandates a number of requirements to ensure that patient privacy is never trampled on in the typical course of medical procedures. While this includes requirements to keep patient information out of the hands of those not involved in patient care and to allow patients to request copies of their own information, it has also influenced floor plans to the point that some are considering all-private rooms. However, this option is not available to every hospital being designed as it requires ample space and funds.
Additionally, floor plans must be designed with expert knowledge of not only the materials and funds available but also the climate. For example, for new buildings in California, the local municipal regulations may require a review of the specific seismic qualities of the area. These climate-dependent requirements may affect the design of the building and therefore, it's floor plans. For example, areas that may have up to 10 feet of snow will find that more funds will be designated for heating infrastructure and therefore less will be available for fully private rooms. An area that receives a lot of earthquakes will have to fortify their building so that it sways rather than topples.
Overall, hospital floor plan designing requires careful thought into the needs of the hospital staff, the patients, and the area as a whole. Care is taken to ensure different departments of a typical hospital are kept separate even as staff and patients move between them. Local and federal regulations, including HIPPA, must be followed in order to ensure the legality of hospital procedures and the safety and comfort of everyone working or residing in the building. Once these requirements and others are met, hospital floor plans can be successfully designed, built, and used.