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Spatial design review of an emergency department plan

As part of an expansion plan, a healthcare system in New York was looking to renovate an older emergency department. They engaged our team of strategic design consultants to review the current architectural plans to ensure an enhanced patient experience and alignment with the long-term strategy of the overall health system.


Our healthcare design consultants analyzed the existing plans along with the market demographics, technology trends, and patient and staff needs to provide recommendations and a revised spatial design. They specifically looked at:


  • Increasing patient access to day light,
  • Reducing necessary staff steps
  • Improving staff visibility of patient rooms

We were asked to apply our strategic design capabilities to determine if the existing architect’s plans fit the customer’s short- and long-term strategic plans that aim to provide an excellent care experience in an efficient and effective way."

Giang Vu

Principal, Strategic Design

Healthcare Transformation Services, Philips

Observation levels

Our approach


Although an architect’s plan existed for the renovation project, the customer asked our strategic design team to make sure it aligned with their strategic goals of increasing clinical process efficiency and enhancing the overall patient and staff experience.

Data analytics


To understand the ED’s current challenges and user perceptions, our team began with a thorough analysis of current and expected future market demands. In parallel, qualitative and quantitative data from patient and staff was gathered and comments from social media channels and results from a community perception study were taken into account.

Spatial assessment


The current architect’s plan was reviewed in terms of layout, clinical workflow efficiency, and patient and staff experience. The assessment looked into circulation paths for staff and patients, evaluated staff lines of sight and assessed the number or spaces with access to daylight.



Our consultants provided recommendations as well as new floorplans and 3D designs to enhance the current design plans. Focus was on increasing staff efficiency and patient satisfaction. Recommendations included using central courtyards and clerestory windows to bring daylight into the ED facility. Other recommendations to improve staff observation included decentralizing large nurse stations to create smaller nurse stations with close proximity to patient exams room.

Kingston Render

A concept for using central courtyards and clerestory windows to bring daylight into the ED facility.



The new environment provides a friendly atmosphere and can have a positive effect on the experience of everyone using the facility including patients, family, and hospital staff.


Calculations of the proposed design compared to the current architect’s plan show the following improvements:


  • Patient rooms which will have access to direct or indirect daylight increases to 97%
  • Nurses will have clear visibility over 82% of the patient rooms
  • For the staff to collect medication, supplies, and equipment from storage and bring to a patient room, the number of steps was reduced by 49%

* Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

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