To achieve an efficient, patient-centered solution, an integrated Lean Design approach was implemented throughout the planning process. This involved developing a cross-functional core team comprised of various specialists—physicians, nurses, medical assistants, laboratory and radiology technicians, pharmacists, social workers, dieticians, receptionists, materials management, and IT personnel—to work collaboratively with the clinic leadership, the design team, and the contractor, to create a facility focused on Intermountain Healthcare’s number one core value: do what is right for the patient.
The process integrated traditionally linear programming and schematic design phases into a consolidated, iterative effort, where proposed operational and space plans were tested, analyzed, refined, and then tested again, resulting in the alignment of the staff around future operations.
Hypothesize. Having analyzed “current state,” and with improvements in mind, the teams put forth a series of proposals regarding how care delivery could be improved.
Test. The multiple solutions and designs were put to the test. Activities were mapped and tested to understand how the proposed design would perform. Diagramming workflow and full-scale mock-ups provided an understanding of scale, distance, relationships, and process requirements. Simulation of clinical scenarios involving patients and families assisted in identifying the best options.
Evaluate. Proposals were analyzed and scored against established goals and performance criteria.
Synthesize. New and modified solutions were developed based on rigorous evaluation and study. The participants’ role during this process was to identify and test the optimal clinical processes, while the design team synthesized the work of the group to create and present informed suggestions and architectural solutions that took into consideration codes, budget, building systems, project objectives, and the overall quality of the spatial experience.
Using five, multi-day Integrated Design Events (IDEs) scheduled over five months, the client and design team collectively made operational and design decisions to achieve functional and operational outcomes in support of Intermountain Healthcare’s goals for the project. These design events were used to collaboratively harness the range of talents and insights of the team and bring the best value to the process to maximize efficiency, allowing for the most creative, flexible, and cost-effective design solutions to emerge. The following key outcomes were targeted:
- Increase efficiency
- Reduce non-patient care space
- Maximize building square footage on site and incorporate growth
- Improve patient satisfaction scores
- Improve call abandonment rates
- Reduce the number of days for an appointment
- Improve wait times
The initial planning began with the team using a Charter as a way to document decisions, boundaries, roles, and assignments for members of the various project groups. The Charter defined the core team and other resource representatives. At the conclusion of each IDE, the core team reported to the steering committee to obtain feedback and endorsement of key decisions. This helped to build consensus and confidence among all stakeholders.
The IDEs were structured to guide participants through quantitative and qualitative decisions in order to define their new operating model, and to explore how the design could best support their goals. A variety of strategies and tools were used to help clinicians and staff visualize, assess, and test future work processes. Teams tracked the “Seven Flows of Healthcare” (patients, families, staff, supplies, equipment, medications, and information) to ensure that operations were driven by Lean concepts to bring the “right elements together, in the right quantity, in the right place, at the right time” and to safely and efficiently deliver care into the future as healthcare delivery continues to change.