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Florida Hospital Winter Garden, Winter Garden, FL

June 2018
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
Florida Hospital Winter Garden Interior, Attic Fire Photography, February 2016

Earl Swensson Associates

Firm's Role on the Project: To change from a design focused on caring for the sick into one focused on overall well-being.

EBD Goal

The goal for the project evolved from a simple philosophy to change from a design focused on caring for the sick into one focused on overall well-being. Guiding principles focused on the patient experience, integration, and system thinking.


Phase I of Florida Hospital Winter Garden is a 93,000 square-foot facility that includes a 16-bed emergency department, a 12-bed observation unit, an outpatient surgery center, urgent care, imaging, and medical office space. Future phases will include a 350,000 square foot, 200-bed hospital and a 180,000 square foot medical, retail, and cancer center designed to create an integrated physician model.

The campus was designed for ambulatory care, and the system wanted to focus on convenience, cost-effectiveness, Lean design, sustainability, and integration of the clinical areas. Plans for expanding the emergency department through additional observation bed space have been incorporated into the design.


The owner issued an RFP that consisted of a single question: “How would you design a greenfield hospital, given your understanding of the future state of healthcare?”

Other challenges associated with the project included managing the operational flow through design and addressing the shift away from the traditional model of physician practice toward a more integrative approach as the trend continues with physicians being employed by health systems or aligned physician groups.


Collaborative planning was embedded into the project design. Since Winter Garden was the first greenfield facility built by Florida Hospital in over 20 years, project champions wanted to ensure the design reflected the best thinking of the system. However, as the facility was new, no existing staff members were available to act as a traditional user group. Instead, the system chose to bring its brightest thinkers to the design process, asking them to challenge any preconceived notions about the way services have been traditionally delivered. Their intention was to avoid the phrase “this is the way we’ve always done it” in favor of “this is the way we should do it.” 

By focusing on the patient experience and applying an on-stage/off-stage design philosophy, the design team hoped to streamline wayfinding to reduce stress and avoid wasting patients’ time. To this end, they ensured that nearly half of the emergency beds in the freestanding ED were located within a short distance of the lobby. Patients can access the room from one side, and staff members from the other. Moreover, lower acuity patients can be treated in the beds nearest the lobby, and isolated from emergency patients who require more complex care.


Since Winter Garden is a greenfield facility, there is no prior data available for analysis or comparison. The goal is to improve utilization of low-acuity treatment rooms, allowing the system to increase the number of patients seen per year in a given exam room. A metric of 1,750 visits per room per year was used for planning based on anticipated volumes. The team aims to assess the results after their first year of operation—anticipating that this metric will be exceeded.

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