Leveraging Simulation Modeling to Evaluate Clinic Design Outcomes

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December 12, 2022

Knowledge, Research

Healing

By Tim Spence and Zahra Zamani

A design professional’s ultimate responsibility is to advise clients on their capital spend. Over recent years, several tools have emerged to eliminate uncertainty in the built environment before the design takes physical form. One such tool is discrete event simulation. Discrete event simulation (DES) provides a cost-effective tool to evaluate and inform future design decisions for capacity estimation, policy impact, patient scheduling, patient wait times, or process modeling.

The following case study describes the integration of DES during the planning process for the adaptive reuse of a mall reimagined as an outpatient clinic with a total of eleven departments (including primary care, pediatrics, OBGYN, neuro, etc.). The city and the healthcare system’s dual ownership of the project created a synergic partnership for improved health through a new wellness and recreation campus of approximately 400,000 square feet (SF). Planning and Design teams identified architectural precedents for innovative approaches that improve health, wellness, and optimum operational outputs. To achieve patient-centered outcomes, designers sought to enhance wayfinding experiences and convenient parking access for acute or chronic illness patients. Designing a public “concourse” was a patient-centered innovation approach that aimed to improve wayfinding, visibility, patient engagement, and flexibility for future adaptation. The pod-based on-stage-off-stage departmental layouts aimed to increase caregivers’ face-to-face communication and team dynamics.

Leveraging Simulation Modeling to Evaluate Clinic Design Outcomes