Controlling Traffic Flow in a Medical Buildout
Controlling traffic flow in a medical buildout is an essential component of any remodel. Not only does this influence how many patients you can see in any given day, but it also protects their health and provides them with a better overall experience.
While COVID-related restrictions may be on the decline across the country, controlling traffic in a medical buildout is still vitally important to prevent the transmission of diseases. As the approach to the disease has gone from pandemic to epidemic status, it joins a swath of related diseases like the flu, strep throat, and even the common cold that can be very serious in immunocompromised populations. Thus, the flow of traffic in a medical buildout is one of the first things you should consider when looking at a medical buildout. This will influence not only how quickly you can serve patients but can help maintain their health and well-being as well. In this blog, we dive into the importance of traffic flow in a medical buildout, and why it should matter when you are planning a buildout.
3 Considerations for Controlling Traffic Flow in a Medical Buildout Minimizing Exposure Waiting for a medical appointment is never a fun experience. In the wake of COVID-19, even a simple visit can be an anxiety-inducing endeavor, with patients strategically sitting on opposite ends of a room to minimize their exposure to others. While many businesses have opted to remove plastic barriers for interacting with staff, medical facilities may want to keep these intact for the time being. Although reports have suggested limited effectiveness as to whether these barriers actually limit exposure, they don’t hamper patient interactions and haven’t proven not to limit disease transmission. Air flow is another crucial factor that should be considered in medical buildouts. Spaces that aren’t well-ventilated not only create a stuffy atmosphere, but contribute to the spread of airborne pathogens. Clinical zoning can cordon off various parts of your facilities so that dedicated HVAC units can prevent air from mixing with the rest of the building. Controlling Traffic Directionality A smart design choice for medical buildouts comes from controlling in/out traffic flow. Traditionally, medical and dental facilities have been designed with a front desk in front for receiving patients, but this same station is often visited at the end of an appointment for information regarding payment details and follow up.
Changing the traffic pattern so that patient flow moves in one direction, rather than crossing back into a reception area, can help limit contacts in a medical space. More, this helps eliminate crowding in busy areas, which can help speed up patient intake. Medical spaces have been radically redesigned thanks to evolving technology – where some equipment once required entire rooms to perform tasks, some machines like x-rays are now portable and can be moved from space to space, further limiting patient traffic and potential exposures. Medical record rooms have been largely digitized, freeing up even more space. These advancements allow buildouts to
be more creative with how space is utilized. Traffic Flow in a Medical Buildout Requires Thinking Ahead Medical buildouts aren’t always done all at once – often they are done piecemeal to ensure that regular services can resume during construction. If this is the approach that you are planning to take, think ahead.
Assembling a medical buildout piece by piece can help modernize your facilities, but this approach can have negative consequences for traffic flow. A medical buildout can involve taking down walls as well as installing new ones. If you are approaching a project section-by-section, this can lead to issues with traffic flow later on. The best approach is to start with a complete plan, and execute on the original idea before making initial changes to your medical facility.
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