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Volume 1: Designing Emergency Departments that Improve Staff Productivity

2012 | Volume 01
A case study of facility metrics with time and motion considerations.

Quality Health Care Design Reduces Staffing Costs for Decades to Come

In today’s health care reform era, practically nothing is more important than efficiency and productivity when evaluating a facility design.

This research project by TEG aims to evaluate three functioning Emergency Departments of Community-Focused Hospitals managed by the same director to determine the various levels of efficiency and productivity each has established.

Before the most recent reforms, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that national ER visits increased from 90,000,000 in 1990 to 123,000,000 in 2008. While, during the period from 1991 to 2006, the number of hospitals with ERs decreased from 5,000 to approximately 4,000. With this trending, clinical efficiency and design productivity will be critical for years to come.

Optimal Productivity from Admission to Discharge

After decades of providing health care services through the traditional front door of the hospital, many health care providers have reported over the last 3 to 5 years that inpatient admission levels that originate in the emergency department are nearing 50% of total admissions.

The above is just one example of how emergency departments have changed and emphasizes that emergency departments’ critical design and staffing decisions are integral to the institution’s overall success.

Design Impacts Staffing Costs for Years to Come

In over 30 years of designing health care facilities, there has never been a hospital CEO who did not scrutinize every dollar spent on building their facilities.

But, very astute CEOs realize that working with an experienced health care architect to program and design facilities that optimize clinical staff productivity will pay for the facilities in very few years. To be clear, a health care facility costs hundreds of dollars per square foot to build, but it costs much more than that to staff a facility.

The apparent conclusion is if the design process can reveal and capitalize on improving staffing efficiencies and increase productivity, then the efficiencies can contribute to paying for the “bricks and mortar.” This idea is the essence of Design Impacting Staffing Costs; thus, the new approach will center on Efficient Design + Productive Care ™.

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