In more medical design news, the Des Moines Registerreports on how design is being used to save lives at Iowa's Mercy Medical Center-West Lakes Hospital, following "three years of design, discussion and research.... Mercy officials spoke with staff members and patients in addition to visiting sites throughout the country as part of a planning process focusing on 'evidence-based design.'"
One of the most interesting facts they uncovered: reflective symmetry can actually be dangerous.
A key concept is "same-handedness," which is seen from the operating rooms to patient rooms. The intent is to cut down on medical errors.
Every patient room is identical - bathroom on the left, patient's head in view of the doorway, with equipment and cupboards in the same locations. The obstetrics rooms vary slightly from that pattern, but are the same as each other. In the operating room, the anesthesiologist is located in the same spot, as are equipment, lights, counters and ventilation systems.
"The research showed that 70 percent of preventable errors take place as a result of a series of things. We set about to see if we could fix those," [said Administrator Dan Aten].
In operating rooms, for instance, surgeons and staff members expect to have life-saving equipment in certain locations, Aten said. But the tendency is to design in mirror images from room to room because it's cheaper.
"This costs $10," he says, pointing to a traditional design with opposite room layouts. "This saves 10 lives, potentially," he said of the identical-design concept.
The extra design raised the overall cost of the hospital five to eight percent, Aten said.