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Using Design to Unify a Hospital

Craig Hospital is one of the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the country, specializing in spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation. Although a national center of excellence that achieves extraordinary patient outcomes, both hospital operations and the patient experience were becoming hampered by a cramped and outdated facility, spread over two buildings. Using the techniques of human-centered design, the design team is renovating and expanding the hospital to optimize efficiency and effectiveness, and in the process unify and re-connect the campus. The majority of the new construction, including the addition of a new floor, enables the hospital to convert from semi- to all-private patient rooms, all while maintaining facility operations with a highly sensitive patient population. Outpatient services nearly double in size, with adequately sized exam rooms, support services and a new procedure suite for higher throughput. Overall, the program and operational goal of the project uses patient-centered design as a force to reorganize and remake the hospital, focusing on a more efficient delivery model with an emphasis on co-locating services throughout the entire campus, all while protecting and enhancing the current hospital culture.


Learning Objectives:

  • Discover how to use the design process as a unifying element to improve both the patient experience and operational effectiveness.
  • Learn how human-centered design methods, including immersion and prototyping, were used as a method for establishing a connection with the staff and patients.
  • Identify effective solutions for the challenges of expanding a hospital with unique patient sensitivities to light, noise and vibration.
  • Explore the many techniques to successfully engage the staff, patient, leadership and family teams in the design and construction process to develop better solutions.



Michael Fordyce, President & CEO, Craig Hospital

Brenna Costello, Associate AIA, Associate, SmithGroupJJR

Randy J. Thorne, AIA, President, RTA, Inc.

Justin D. Cooper, LEED AP, HFMA member, ASHE member, Director of Healthcare Development, GE Johnston Construction Company


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1 CEU Hour


September 24, 2013
Class Frequency: 
EDAC Course ID: 

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