A Patient-Centric Pulse: Okla. Hospitals Embrace Architectural Design Aimed to Speed Healing

Article excerpt

In some cases, the more comfortable patients are following a medical procedure, the more quickly they heal, and Oklahoma hospitals are using that theory in designing new facilities.

The Center for Health Design (CHD), formed in 1993, is advancing an idea that Oklahoma hospitals are embracing - that design can improve patient results in health care environments.

According to the CHD, evidence-based design suggests that a physical environment can reduce patient stress, improve safety and staff effectiveness and boost the quality of care provided in hospitals. With this in mind, many medical groups are using this evidence in their design and architecture.

In Oklahoma City and Tulsa, that trend continues and medical services are becoming friendlier. With new hospital developments and expansions occurring in both cities, patients will begin to see more relaxed environments, more patient-centric care and facilities designed to look more like a hotel than a hospital.

Nearly all the developments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa are leaning toward that trend. Most boast of spa-like rooms, nature- based design and specialty lights.

"The healing environment is very important to patient care," said David Foss, metro director of planning and construction for Integris Health Systems, one of the many hospital groups building and expanding in Oklahoma's two metropolitan areas.

"The design lends toward a more healing place."

Integris Edmond

When Integris Health Edmond broke ground on 45 acres east of Interstate 35 between Second Street and 15th Street, the natural landscape around the construction was as much a part of the design as the architect renderings were.

Utilizing a "green belt" area, the hospital will be built on top of a hill surrounded by several tree preserves and natural undergrowths that become part of the complex, adding to what Integris leadership hopes to be a healing environment.

"The Edmond site is very unique in that it is in a very green area with lots of trees upon a hill a bit," said Foss. "The patient rooms are on the top floor so they can have a great view. The orientation of the windows is to face the green areas. That idea became the starting point for the design of the hospital."

Offering full-service hospital facilities, the new development's first phase is being designed to be more patient-friendly and relaxing to patients. Using "evidence-based" design, the hospital will create work and patient areas that are not only therapeutic to clients, but also efficient for staff and less stressful to workers.

Like many of the other medical expansions, the patient rooms will provide a more hotel-like experience with wireless access, natural lighting, room service and rooms with a designated caregiver area, patient area and family visitor area.

Throughout the new hospital, a nature-based atmosphere will be incorporated, including an atrium entrance using external landscaping and open-air areas with additional natural landscaping.

"Even the color scheme is designed to be soothing," said Foss. "It's all greens and taupe and browns. The exterior is all stone and brick, and the carpet is gone. There's a lot of wood-like flooring and stone tile used."

Integris Health Edmond will also be green by utilizing wind power, reducing light pollution with some solar-powered lights, using "Energy Star" medical equipment, planting trees through Dell's "Plant a Tree" program and installing walking trails.

The new hospital itself is designed with 40 inpatient beds, a new full-service emergency department, six intensive-care suites, 24 surgical beds, four surgical suites, 10 labor and recovery suites and more than 45,000 square feet of medical office space.

Healthplex

St. Anthony Hospital is building two medical campuses in the Oklahoma City metro area, each at 52,000 square feet with a total cost of $44 million. …