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MultiCare Health System - Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center, Tacoma, Washington

January 2015
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
MultiCare Health System - Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center, HDR Architecture; 2013 Andrew Pogue


Firm's role on the project: To maximize direct patient care activities and increase caregiver efficiency. 

EBD Goal

To maximize direct patient care activities and increase caregiver efficiency while incorporating the use of evidence-base design principles in the delivery of a two-floor, 52,000-square-foot children’s hospital expansion including both general pediatric beds and a pediatric intensive care unit.


To achieve this goal, HDR was challenged to integrate the latest evidence-based design strategies and Lean operational efficiencies into the children’s hospital design while ensuring that it blended seamlessly with the existing connected adult hospital and the surrounding buildings. One of the primary evidence-based strategies incorporated was the use of artwork throughout the hospital as a positive healing distraction for patients and families.


MultiCare Health System, along with HDR, launched a study using work-sampling software on a PDA platform and layout-optimization software to determine how the design of a patient unit impacted nurse circulation patterns, efficiency of service delivery, operations productivity and patient satisfaction on a 28-bed pediatric med/surg unit. Careful analysis of this data informed the design of a new pediatric med/surg unit that minimized wasted steps and redundancy to maximize direct patient care. 


The initial study, done prior to the new design, showed that 50.4% of the nurses' time was spent at the centralized nurse station while only 31.2% was spent in the patient's room, well below the national median of 37.8%. A post PDA study conducted three months after occupancy in the new unit revealed the new processes and design halved the amount of time spent at the central nurse station (23.3%) and almost doubled the time spent providing care in the patient room (75.7%). The overall design and process change for the new unit allowed the percentage of time a nurse spent providing direct care to increase from 28.5% to 55.4%; a direct correlation of cutting the time spent providing indirect care by two-thirds.

Inspired by a growing body of research proving that art in healthcare environments can reduce stress and aid in the healing process, the team also initiated an art program that makes the space look more like an art gallery than an actual hospital.  After reviewing multiple submissions, 14 local artists were commissioned to create works of art ranging from expansive tiled mural walls to 30-foot long mixed media paintings and colorful glass installations.  The artwork acts as a positive distraciton for children and parents who are enduring high-stress situations and whose spirits are often low.  Even though most patients are restricted to staying inside the building, the artwork serves as a connection to the outside and a reminder of placed they know and love.

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