Hospital Design Aimed at Reducing Medical Errors
Some hospitals are "factoring hospital layout and design into the patient-safety equation" in their efforts to reduce medical errors, the Wall Street Journal reports. At least 35 health organizations are building new facilities with architectural and design features aimed at improving patient safety, according to the Center for Health Design.
For example, safety features at St. Joseph's Hospital in West Bend, Wis., include ultraviolet lights that kill germs and improve airflow, computers for nurses to order medications or enter medical data, and standardized control panels with oxygen and gas outlets.
Administrators at larger hospitals also have adapted similar design features. For instance, HCA, which runs more than 180 facilities, will no longer use vinyl coverings on exterior walls because the material can attract mold.
At St. Joseph's, the new facility has been beneficial "on both safety and financial fronts," the Journal reports. Because each room is identical, the hospital was able to save money on construction costs by negotiating discounts with vendors. Anecdotal evidence suggests that infections, falls and medication errors are lower at the new facility, which opened in August, the Journal reports.
Hospital administrators hope the reduced errors will lead to lower malpractice insurance premiums and reduce the average length of stay at the hospital, allowing St. Joseph's to serve more patients (Naik, Wall Street Journal, 5/8).