Pebble Project Enhances Patient Experience

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Columbia St. Mary’s is pleased to be a Pebble Project Partner with the Center for Health Design and other select and prominent health care providers across the nation. The purpose of the partnership is to create a “ripple effect” in the health care community by performing research using evidence-based design concepts.

More than two years ago, Columbia St. Mary’s studied evidence-based design principles promoted by the Center for Health Design, and key concepts from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute of Medicine. “We came away with some common themes that we broke down into 28 important design guidelines, which are highlighted at each design session with the architects,” explained Patricia Morrill, Director of Project Management for Columbia St. Mary’s.

One of the main design precepts is to introduce noise-reducing elements to the actual building. Reducing noise can decrease stress for both patients and staff, and it can also diminish the chance for errors. “Reducing noise not only minimizes stress, it also improves safety,” Morrill said. “We’re actually ‘trialing’ this at our Ozaukee Hospital with different floor finishes and ceiling tiles to see how it makes a difference in noise levels.”

To further minimize stress, the hospital also has plans to create positive distractions for patients – larger patient rooms with views of nature and soothing artwork. Patients will control their own environment making it more like home for them. They will be able to order meals and have them delivered via room service, and control the temperature and the lights in their room. “We want to enhance the patient’s experience when they are with us,” Morrill said. These soothing environmental factors will not only be good for patients, but they will also take care of staff, too, who often work in very high-stress situations. “We want to reduce their stress and provide areas for them to recharge,” Morrill said. “We can accomplish this by creating a positive work environment.”

These guidelines are being incorporated into all the new construction projects that are going on within the Columbia St. Mary’s system. This will improve the experience for patients, staff and physicians and, help to reinvent the patient experience across the nation. Therefore, as a Pebble Project Partner, Columbia St. Mary’s success – and passion for patient care – will be shared.



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