Increase efficiency and produce revenue with an informed facility design

From the moment you determine your need for a new space to the time your facility is fully built and delivering services, Health Care Facility Design and Flow can help you to refine goals, align visions, and optimize flow in the design or use of your new or existing facility.

Benefits for architects

Lean training offers tremendous advantages to architects by preparing them to successfully capture the spatial and design needs of their clients, eliminate waste, and maximize operational efficiency, and increase patient and staff satisfaction.

Advantages for health care organizations

Invite our lean management experts to engage your teams in co-designing a health care facility that optimizes flow for staff and patients, delivers greater efficiency and cost benefits, and seamlessly adapts to changing needs over time.

Planning for your future facility

Health Care Facility Design and Flow is a flexible and highly effective approach for both health care organizations and architects in the process of designing a new facility. Teams are empowered to define their facility needs with greater accuracy before beginning a costly design and building process, and to optimize the flows of patients and health care providers in the space by engaging the front-line staff and executives in visioning, scoping and 3-D modeling exercises.

We enlist a design team of frontline staff and leaders to envision a space that supports the flows of medicine and provides what is needed to meet patient demand. All areas are designed as they relate to one another as well as existing facilities and services. When a facility is designed to support flow, wayfinding becomes more intuitive, waste is eliminated from how people use the space and the patient and staff experience of the space is more positive.

Organization determines a need for a new facility

Tailored Health Care Facility Design and Flow opportunity with Virginia Mason Institute is explored

Organization accepts proposal

Scope and delivery timeline of services is agreed upon

Planning for 3P begins

Scoping sessions are scheduled six weeks prior to 3P, as well as, four weekly planning meetings

3P week occurs

A functional narrative of the future-state process flow is created

Roadmap for improvement activity

Improvements in existing space begin to relieve capacity pressure and improve service delivery

Layout concepts to begin facility design are shared with architect

Flows of medicine are optimized, equipment needs are identified, and mock-ups of concepts begin

Overall layout concepts are tested through two RPIWs over a six-week period

Simulations and mock-ups are tested to inform spaces in greater detail

Winning design concept moves forward to architect

Schematic designs from architect are complete

Detail designs from architect are complete

Construction documents are issued to builder

New facility is built

Final flow simulations and validation of spaces are performed

Coaching for a successful implementation

New facility is fully operational

Staff are now working in flow in their supportive new facility


Virginia Mason Institute


Virginia Mason Institute + Organization + Architect

3P (Process, Preparation, Production)

3Ps are an opportunity for staff to generate breakthrough ideas for innovation when new spaces, new services, or new processes are needed within an organization. It is also a chance to capture solutions for improving or repurposing any existing materials or equipment before purchasing new items.

3P focuses on building-in quality, safety and performance goals to the design process. In addition, 3P aims to design and organize processes and equipment layout in a highly flexible and adaptable manner that supports change over time. Lastly, the appropriate timing of health care delivery is refined to produce just what is needed at the exact right moment. The 3P process brings together individuals representing all functions of the health care facility to contribute ideas, rapid-fire test them in a collaborative and hands-on manner and, ultimately, to select the best design to serve their team.

RPIW (Rapid Process Improvement Workshop)

RPIWs engage team members from all levels of the organization to address a specific clinical goal. RPIW coaching sessions inform planning with just what is needed, in just the required amount of time, where it is needed, and when it is needed. This planning considers the people who will be using the space, their work and processes, the materials needed to produce the space, and the equipment required to deliver services in the space. Non-value-added or wasteful elements of the envisioned space come to light quickly through these workshops so they can be eliminated before the space is built.

Benefits for architects — Learn to speak in lean

Lean practices have gained traction in health care due to their cost-saving and efficiency-increasing benefits. Architects working with health care clients must now be prepared to participate in conversations where lean terminology and concepts are used. Our sensei can bridge this gap to provide lean management expertise, as well as health care expertise, in order to better capture the design needs of the client for the architects. Health Care Facility Design and Flow ensures overall cost reduction through waste elimination, as well as, preventing costly change orders during the building process. A family practice group of five providers at Virginia Mason experienced a 413,000 dollar increase in revenue after just two years of implementing flow.

In addition, lean facility design processes prioritize a robust analysis of the business prior to any design or building activities. This essential information includes: demand for services, volume, flow, processes, equipment, and potential disruptors in the specialty or field. The business analysis identifies where opportunities and gaps are currently or are projected to be in the future. After this business analysis has been captured, with the assistance of our lean management experts, stakeholders can begin a conversation about the future state of a new or improved facility.

Advantages for health care organizations — Invite flow into your organization

For health care organizations or hospitals where resources are thinly stretched, internal pre-design planning may not be feasible, meaning the goals and interests of the organization, as well as the front line staff who will utilize the space will still need to be fully captured. Our sensei are equipped to guide these conversations, perform an organizational analysis, and inform the design needs of the new space while saving the architects extra meetings, redesigns or change orders. Through intensive coaching and vision-scoping, Health Care Facility Design and Flow ensures that spaces are built the right way, the first time around.

Architects seldom have deep experience in health care and business administration, and yet we’ve found that expertise in these areas is essential to designing a facility that functions well and efficiently. Additionally, while architects may have health care experts in-house, they are not a substitute for the perspectives of the health care professionals that are currently delivering care to patients under the unique environmental conditions the new facility will experience each day. Our scoping and process improvement exercises allow the very individuals who will use the space to co-design the facility.

Webinar | Health Care Facility Design and Flow — Benefits to Quality and Revenue

Learn how to better inform a future vision for a new facility by aligning visions, eliminating waste, and optimizing flow. View this recorded webinar and realize the full potential of your new health care space.

Watch webinar

Webinar | Health Care Facility Design and Flow — Benefits to Quality and Revenue

Learn how to better inform a future vision for a new facility by aligning visions, eliminating waste, and optimizing flow. View this recorded webinar and realize the full potential of your new health care space.

Watch webinar

“Very often a team will have a preconceived idea of what they need from a new facility, only to change their minds after they’ve moved into their brand new space. When they have an opportunity to improve their work processes and design a better coordinated approach to delivering health care, the team is already set-up for success the moment they move-in.”

Chris Backous, MHA, Sensei, Virginia Mason Institute

Design your health care facility with lean

Inform your health care facility with meaningful design choices for your patients and staff.

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