How Digitization Increases Satisfaction in Healthcare Spaces

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For hospital owners and designers, patient satisfaction remains a top priority. As generations age, patients are increasingly native to technology and expectations for a personalized, digital experience is the new normal. In fact, 65% of healthcare consumers expect a more convenient experience, and 70% expect more responsiveness from providers compared to three years ago. According to a survey on behalf of the American Academy of Physician Associates, 73% of U.S. adults say that the healthcare system is not meeting their needs in some way.

Employee satisfaction and retention are also at the top of the list. In that same survey, 47% of U.S. adults believe their healthcare providers are burned out or overburdened, and 66% of U.S. facility managers or staff have left or have considered leaving their job in the past year.

What’s the driving factor? It’s important to note that for both patients and healthcare workers, expectations continue to evolve. Think back to how unbelievable first-generation mobile phones were. We can all agree that it would be unacceptable to return to the days when we carried around a big bag with a big phone inside it. The same goes for healthcare. Today’s healthcare worker is more digitally native than ever before. Their expectations around the digitization of the work — and the digitization of friction points in their routine — are shifting from expectations to demands.

How can healthcare facilities create more engaging and efficient spaces where employees and patients benefit from a differentiated experience? How can healthcare spaces be more in line with the expectations we all carry today?

Here are two examples of how a leading healthcare facility is embracing technology and digitization to support patient and employee needs and provide an elevated experience.

Digitization benefits patients, employees

At the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania’s brand-new Pavilion Hospital, application of a patient-centric design — including the development of a new patient footwall experience — empowers patients with control of their individual spaces. They can adjust their room temperature, lighting levels, and more, all through one simplified interface. This design also moves some traditional in-room maintenance tasks into the hallway to create an environment more conducive to healing. The result has been a steep improvement in patient satisfaction scores.

For the healthcare worker, a focus has been automating the mundane. One example includes taking patient information that is usually written on door and instead, automatically harnessing it from electronic medical records and displaying it digitally outside the room. This lets the clinician focus on the patient’s recovery instead of dealing with paperwork. Plus, because it’s automated, any changes are instantly updated reducing the risk of human error in forgetting to make the update. That alone increases the chances of safety for both the patient and the clinicians.

All of us can take away key messages in these examples and the data that supports the case for change. These challenges are no longer technological challenges as the technology already exists. Examples of applications for impact are readily available. An approach of working from the patient or healthcare-worker’s experience requires removing the traditional silos between design, construction, and operations. A more collaborative approach needs to come forward. Expectations have shifted. The digital experiences in our daily lives frame our expectations for the interactions with buildings that serve us. We must recognize and adjust to the realization that what was acceptable yesterday may be intolerable today. Once we experience digital empowerment, it’s difficult to go back. How does our delivered experience stack up?


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