Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Patient Voices Provide Sound Guidance

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

Patient Voices Provide Sound Guidance

Article excerpt

Lessons learned from a study of how acoustics impact patient satisfaction has proven invaluable to St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, Wis., as it continues its multiphase campus reconstruction.

Noise-reducing design strategies were incorporated throughout the health care system's new 90-bed patient tower, which replaces a building with an emergency department (ED) built in the early '70s and other sections that go back to 1924, says Gary Kusnierz, vice president, performance excellence, Ministry Health Care, Appleton, Wis.

The ED and other spaces within the prior hospital were the source of staff and patient complaints about noise levels, which spurred St. Elizabeth to study acoustics and apply noise-reducing design in its newest facilities, he says.

The hospital learned of the extent of dissatisfaction with ED noise levels in particular in the old hospital after conducting a voice-of-the-customer event at which more than 700 patients and family members were interviewed, Kusnierz says.

"Visual and acoustical privacy ranked very near the top of what our patients were requesting in a new facility, including the ED," he says. …

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