A Safer Hospital Design Keeps Patient Safety in Mind

March 1, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Hospital design flaws are more than an inconvenience for patients; they can be deadly, according to an article by a resident physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, published on February 22, 2017, in the New York Times. One notable design flaw in hospitals, the author said, is the multi-occupancy patient room. Housing patients together could be a reason for frequency of healthcare-acquired infections, the author said. Private rooms, he noted, decrease both airborne infections and those transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces. Single-occupancy rooms may even be more cost-effective, the author said, if money is saved by transmitting fewer infections. Current hospital design also increases the risk of falls. Patient rooms often feature poorly lit areas, slippery floors, and toilets that are too high or too low, the author said. Decentralized nursing stations, situated closer to patient rooms, might reduce the risk of falls. Shared rooms also can lead to breaches of privacy.

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