Among healthcare clients, a keen focus on improving the patient experience and satisfaction is the new normal. This focus has evolved to be one of the primary evaluation criteria for building owners when assessing facility improvements and construction projects. They need to ensure that any capital spent will result in improved patient outcomes, an excellent patient experience, and overall satisfaction with treatment.

In today's environment, the customer (patient) is everything. The customer experience and achieving satisfaction is the definition of success at all levels. However, in the world of social media, the measurement of these two factors is much more complicated. Gone are the days when customer input and feedback could be controlled by the company that provided the service, product, or experience. Social media allows the customer to instantly provide input and feedback—on their terms. This new process of instant input and feedback simply cannot be controlled.

So how do planning and design professionals respond to this critical intersection of patient experience and social media? The answer is to design spaces using evidence-based design principles that build upon the body of evidence already compiled by thousands of healthcare facilities. Healthcare designers have used evidence-based design to research, monitor, report, and benchmark data between facilities and organizations to identify proven performance gains in certain design solutions. Using these methods that have been proven to improve outcomes and satisfaction won’t help healthcare facilities control social media comments, but it should curb negative feedback in general.

Through the implementation of evidence-based design, the design industry and healthcare organizations can proactively ensure that patient outcomes, experience, and satisfaction will be positive. This will offset the potential negative impact from the post experience social media risk, which is uncontrollable once it begins.


Gary Vance, AIA, FACHA, LEED AP, is the director of national healthcare for BSA LifeStructures. Gary is a recognized thought leader in healthcare planning and design, providing hospitals with creative solutions to their facility problems. He also collaborates with various healthcare constituent groups to develop innovative solutions to operational, facility, and organizational problems. He can be reached at For more information, please visit