When evaluating the holistic patient experience, there are three important factors involved: people, process, and place. As planners and designers of the healthcare built environment, we understand that “place” should be an enabler of patient satisfaction.

With the utilization of HCAHPS as primary criteria for hospital organizational reimbursement, the patient experience is now directly related to specific survey topics. One of these important questions within the hospital environment section of the survey involves noise in and around the patient room.

When excessive noise is present in the patient room and the nursing unit, it has significant impact on the patient experience. The most significant impact of noise on the built environment impacts patient satisfaction, slower patient recovery, and longer lengths of stay. 

These impacts are substantiated through research and evidence-based design, which are well documented within the healthcare industry.

When it comes to excessive noise in and around the patient room, there are typically two sources of the noise. One is from external sources outside the patient rooms. Noise can come from the corridor, mechanical/electrical systems, equipment, and from adjacent patient rooms. 

Another source of noise can come from within the patient room itself. These include sources, like equipment alarms, visitors and staff, television noise, noise from the patient toilet room, and noise from the mechanical space. These noise sources can be analyzed by the healthcare design and construction industry using methods like evidence-based design, lean design, research, and the application of design best practices. 

The first step to addressing these challenges is understanding the changing healthcare landscape our clients are facing. As planners and designers, we must provide healthcare facilities that address these issues and present innovative solutions that improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Gary Vance 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 gvance@bsalifestructures.com. For more information, please visit www.bsalifestructures.com.