Preiser, Wolfgang F.E., Stephen Verderber and Dina Battisto. "Assessment of Health Center Performance: Toward the Development of Design Guidelines," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 3, issue 3 (2009).
In the United States, primary care has emerged as an increasingly effective alternative to costly inpatient emergency care and hospitalization. Thousands of outpatient community-based clinics have been built in the past decade, in rural, suburban and urban contexts. The majority focus on the provision of preventative and public health care for medically underserved and/or uninsured patient populations. As this facility type has flourished, there remains a paucity of empirical research on the architectural performance of these ambulatory care environments. In response, an empirical investigation was developed. A post-occupancy evaluation was conducted on five community health centers in Cincinnati, Ohio, all of which were located in urban settings. Among the findings, a set of planning and design provisions were articulated on issues centered on site planning, wayfinding, amenities, and the internal deployment of diagnostic and treatment functions, with the principal focus on the design of highly patent-centered care environments. The findings are discussed in relation to this healthcare building type and are likely of significant interest to primary care providers, architects, and allied design professionals, both in the US and internationally. An innovative feature and outcome of this project was the comparison of square footages of the 5 community health centers, divided by the number of annual patient encounters, number of staff, as well as energy consumption. This resulted in the establishment of objective efficiency ratings, thus permitting the development of corrective measures and interventions.