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Archive Patient Centered Care 2015

A Patient-Centric Approach to Facility Design

Montefiore Medical Center has every step covered.

Jim Burger

Jim Burger, Senior Editor


colorful and bright surgical facility WELCOME TO MONTEFIORE "Studies show that people tend to do better when things are colorful and cheery," says Pratibha Vemulapalli, MD, Montefiore's director of perioperative service. "When you walk into the building, it's a huge open lobby with a lot of natural light coming in. It's very colorful and very bright."

The structure that houses your surgical facility may not be as important as the people inside it, but the design and construction of your building influences virtually every aspect of the care that you provide within. When the decision-makers at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., hashed out their vision for a new kind of ambulatory surgery center, one goal remained central.

"It's a patient-centric approach," says project manager Jason C. Lee of Array Architects. "The patient is the center of the facility, and the patient's experience from arrival through departure is one of the most important metrics for success."

The project was challenging, because architects were working with an existing building originally planned as a business office and hotel. That meant there was a pre-approved zoning plan and a requirement that the facility be harmoniously laid out over several vertically adjacent floors. To make it happen, a second tower, subject to the same zoning requirements, was added and 2 buildings became one by connecting them through a lobby.

"We essentially had a box that we had to make everything work in," says Mr. Lee. "But it's a lean approach to design in the sense that we wanted to reduce the number of steps as much as possible, as people go from point A to point B."

The layout includes 10 dedicated elevators, including 2 for transporting patients, one for clean case carts, one for soiled goods, one that provides a direct connection from staff locker rooms to ORs and one that delivers discharged patients to a valet-serviced garage. There they find their cars waiting for them as they step out of the elevator.

"The idea," says Pratibha Vemulapalli, MD, Montefiore's director of perioperative service, "is that even though it's a medical facility, even though you're there for care and may be in pain, the mind-body experience is incredibly important. What you holistically feel is going to translate to how well you do and how well you accept whatever news you get and whatever experience you have in the building. We want everything to be welcoming. That's the theory behind it all."

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