Thursday, May 6, 2010

Designing the Perfect Health Care Clinic | Fast Company

Article By Elizabeth Svoboda
On a November afternoon, a wheelchair-bound woman rolls into Kaiser Permanente's Garfield Center in San Leandro, California, for a checkup. "Watch out for your arms, okay?" the nurse says as she guides the chair into the exam room. After consulting the sheet of paper in front of her, she peers at her patient. "Hmm. You look really good for 51 years old." The raven-haired patient -- obviously closer to 31 than 51 -- joins the nurse in laughter. "Thank you!"

That's one clue this particular doctor's office isn't what it seems. Others abound: the unfinished plywood walls, the scripts in the patients' laps, and the video cameras at every corner. The Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center is a 37,000-square-foot stage -- a rehearsal ground Kaiser has created to perfect proposed facility designs before they are rolled out to Kaiser's hundreds of hospitals and clinics. Today, in a six-hour-long series of simulations, doctors, nurses, architects, and actors recruited to serve as patients are testing a microclinic design. The idea is to fit a complete-care environment into a space the size of a strip-mall store.

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