When SynergyHealth, St. Joseph’s Hospital of West Bend, Wisconsin, USA, decided to relocate and build an 82-bed acute care facility, there was an opportunity to design a hospital that focused on patient safety. Hospital leaders believed if a facility design process was “engineered properly,” it would enhance patient safety and create a patient safe culture; however, they found little information to give the direction.
To help plan the new facility, a national learning lab was conducted, drawing from patient safety in the available literature; inviting experts from the healthcare profession and other fields, including transportation, spacecraft design, and systems engineering; and involving the hospital's board members, staff, physicians, and facility design team.
In this case study, John G. Reiling describes the process used by St. Joseph to design a new hospital around patient safety, and identify and discuss safety design principles, providing examples of their application at St. Joseph’s new facility. Finally, recommendations are made for the design of all health care systems, including new facilities, remodeling, and additions.