“Design isn’t just what it looks or feels like. Design is how it works.”
The phrase, “Form follows function” is not simply a cliché reference to modern architecture; it’s an element of ergonomics and human engineering; and that is the basis for good design. Therefore, the primary goal of our services is to manage the fluid movement of people within a defined space. That includes patients, families, clinicians, staff, vendors and service providers. As such, the orientation and juxtaposition of clinical and administrative services is as critical to a patient’s experience as the resulting productivity is to the caregivers. Flow is optimized, efficiency is enhanced, stress is reduced and homeostasis prevails.
Clearly, in today’s healthcare, people have choices; many of which are based on an emotional response to their “physical experience” in a health care facility. If the experience is pleasurable, they will return. In the same context, staff members who enjoy the synchronicity of a well-engineered work environment will stay; thereby eliminating the perpetual need to market for, hire and train new personnel. Combined, they result in a cohesive environment and a healthy bottom line.
There are many factors that cumulatively create an environment that “works”: spacial adequacy; alignment and proximity of services; ergonomic support; lighting; heating/cooling; finishes. As a result, it’s difficult to concisely characterize these components as they relate to a functional design. But the essence is that it “feels good”.
The fact is that much of good design is based on perception. For example- directional signage leading to alternate means of egress is essential to code compliance and the general safety of the occupants of any facility. However studies have shown that the majority of people will move toward the exit at which they entered the facility- the perceived egress. Barring any obstructions in that path, most people feel that it is the safest route of travel; regardless of the distance to that exit or their proximity to alternate exits. So, it is that intuitive, instinctive, and perceptive sensibility that is the foundation of functional design- to create an environment that works.