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Kahler Slater UW Health – Yahara Clinic Monona, Wisconsin

January 2014
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
UW Health – Yahara Clinic Monona, Wisconsin

Kahler Slater

Firm's role on the project: To improve the workplace and paitent flow.


EBD Goal

To design a layout for the new family medicine clinic at The University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation that supports patient self-rooming (an innovation in their clinic setting). The self-rooming concept helps reduce wait times for patients, improves infection control, increases privacy and maximizes staff efficiency.


Design researchers from Kahler Slater conducted observations in the existing clinic to understand the clinical staff’s workflow patterns when seeing patients. Those solutions informed the design of the new clinic layout and provided baseline data about common paths of travel and important adjacencies.


Each exam room required two doors for the patient self-rooming concept, so keeping the overall building square footage down was a challenge, as was locating the clinical staff and provider workstations as close as possible to the exam rooms. In addition, we had to develop a communication system that alerted clinical staff that the patient had arrived and their location. Providers were practicing the self-rooming concept in the previous clinic location, but the physical environment did not allow them to achieve their goals and efficiencies.


The floor plan features back-of-house Flow Stations that allow caregivers to collaborate openly and not be overheard or interrupted by patients. The Flow Stations are directly adjacent to the exam rooms, allowing providers to chart between patients without needing to go back to their offices. A door leading directly into the exam rooms is located in the Flow Station. Patients come into the room through a second door off the public corridor. A light system was developed that communicates the arrival, the status, and location of each patient. This information is derived from the patient’s electronic medical record. Efficient use of circulation in the Flow Stations kept the overall square footage per exam room comparable to a typical clinic layout; therefore the building size did not increase as a result of the self-rooming concept. The self-rooming layout at the Yahara Clinic reduced the travel distance from the clinical staff workstations to the exam rooms by 83% compared to the previous clinic environment. The clinical workstations are located directly adjacent to the providers’ workstations and increased the opportunity for direct communication and collaboration about patient care. It also increased patient privacy, as patients cannot overhear conversations about other patients.


Post occupancy observations and interviews with clinical staff and providers confirmed the Flow Stations are being utilized as designed and clinical staff and providers are enjoying the efficiencies and collaboration. The clinic’s overall patient satisfaction scores increased by 25% (Avatar top box scores) with 12-22% improvements in the categories relating to the environment, getting around (way finding) and general reputation.

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