One of the very cool aspects of covering the healthcare industry is writing about the latest design trends and innovations in new hospital construction and renovations. Whether it’s gorgeous healing gardens with water features; beautiful, nature-inspired interiors; or clever wayfinding systems, it’s exciting to learn about the ways in which healthcare designers are improving the patient experience.

But … for better or for worse, these insights did not serve me too well throughout an appendicitis adventure I muddled through earlier this year.

Why, you may ask?

Due to the fact that I’m rather “spoiled” when it comes to being aware of the latest in healthcare design, consequently spending three days at a hospital— which can best be described as “mediocre”—was somewhat depressing.

Now don’t get me wrong, the medical care was very good, and I am extremely grateful to the emergency staff and surgeons who diligently diagnosed my condition, safely operated, and provided high quality after-care.

However, the environment in which I was treated left much to be desired. Granted, I worked very hard to focus on the positive, but I couldn’t help but wonder how:

  • It would have been so much nicer if the ED had been designed to accommodate my husband and our infant son, instead of relegating them to a desolate hallway in attempt to shield our baby from germs.
  • Completing my diagnosis—which involved a blood test, ultrasound, and CT scan—in less than 8 hours would have been so much more pleasant.
  • Having a place in the after surgery ward where I could actually nurse and spend time with my baby would have made things much easier.
  • Not having to share a room with two other patients would have been considerably more comfortable.

Okay, that’s enough complaining! But why do I bring this up?

To hopefully motivate and inspire healthcare providers and designers that there is much work to be done when it comes to enhancing the patient experience in today’s healthcare environments.

Onward and upward!

Feel free to share how a hospital’s facility design enhanced or detracted from your healthcare experience in the comments below.