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University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center, Minneapolis, MN

January 2017
EDAC Advocate Firm Project
Collaboration Space at Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center, Craig Dugan Photography, Feb. 2016


Firm's role on the project:  Planning, Programming, Architecture, Design, Interiors


EBD Goal 

University of Minnesota Physicians, Fairview Health Services, and the University of Minnesota Medical Center formed a partnership to address a patchwork of overcrowded and outdated campus facilities into a cohesive, safe, welcoming, and accessible environment for patients and their families.


Designing the University of Minnesota Health Clinics and Surgery Center (CSC) provided the facility an opportunity to rethink care delivery models, evolve the brand, and reduce the cost of care to meet future healthcare demands. As a destination ambulatory center, the CSC is designed to elevate an inter-professional care delivery model while providing an entirely new type of patient experience.


University of Minnesota Health wanted the CSC to be a catalyst for the complete transformation of patient care. The model would fully leverage the collective knowledge of every member of the patient care team from doctors and nurses to pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, therapists, researchers, and students. An innovative workspace (the “collaboration space”) was envisioned to empower these teams to work together in new ways — teams of caregivers and researchers performing the full spectrum of care-related activities and multidisciplinary teams collaborating, reviewing and editing patient records, discussing specific cases, and teaching residents.

CannonDesign conducted literature reviews from a wide range of sources about workplace design and collaborative work environments. Much of the research was specific to corporate work environments as there was little information about them in healthcare settings, with the exception of a few articles. To meet the project’s specific acoustical requirements the team worked with an acoustical consultant for advice on how to address these issues in the space.


Because the collaboration spaces were meant to serve as the primary work areas for clinicians and staff, it was important to ensure that design of the spaces was in line with user needs and preferences. The team was interested in learning not only how they would use the space provided, but also about the specific space layouts, what furniture and accessories would be like in the space, and how much storage there would be. Various solutions were selected and used as the basis for the mockups. A mockup collaboration space was created. Over 200 staff and physicians were invited to use and experience this space over a one-week period by simulating activities in the space and then evaluating key components through an online survey.


After synthesizing and analyzing the survey data, the team reported key findings back to the client, including: the anticipated frequency of both in-person and virtual collaboration in the spaces, acoustics and privacy observations related to the flexible configurations, layout and storage options, and preferences related to privacy screens, adjustable desk heights, task lighting, virtual collaboration tools, and aesthetics and quality of materials used.

CannonDesign developed recommendations for the collaboration spaces that reflected the stated layout preferences, provided the desired storage, and increased the number of users that can be supported in the space at a given time. The mockup collaboration space also revealed staff anxiety over working differently in a new space. This factor led to a recommendation for further education of staff and physicians about operations of the new space, and a transition planning process to help users adjust to the new environment. Baseline information has been collected related to patient satisfaction, employee engagement, and throughput data for all clinics. This information formed the basis for the design solution and will be evaluated when a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) is conducted later this year.

While The Center believes that the information in this resource is valid, it has not fact-checked the information or tested any findings. The Center disclaims any warranties, expressed or implied, regarding this content.