In my last post, I discussed how healthcare designers can position themselves as strategic advisors to clients in a changing healthcare environment. Owners will continue to look for ways to lower costs while improving outcomes through new technology and delivery method. 

One method gaining momentum is group exams as a cost-effective way to improve the patient experience. By focusing on healthcare assessment, education, and group support, group exams enable patients to direct their own care. 

Group exams are common techniques in counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and even prenatal care. In fact, studies have shown that group exams may lead to better results than traditional care. According to the Centering Healthcare Institute, a recent study found a “33% reduction in pre-term birth for women in centering [group exam] groups.” The study also found higher satisfaction rates, increased breast-feeding rates, and improved knowledge and readiness. 

The core value of group exams is education and group support as preventive measures. By sharing common experiences, information, and successes in a controlled group setting with a team of healthcare specialists, patients can lower their health risks and improve their long-term outcomes. 

For designers, this means working with owners to plan flexible healthcare spaces that support group interaction, private consultation, and mobile technology under different patient-caregiver scenarios. For instance, a community clinic in Minneapolis is integrating group exams into the care process for patients with heart disease, diabetes, and chronic illness. Instead of private physical examinations only, the clinic also focuses on group education to help patients better understand their conditions and learn how to control—and potentially prevent—problems.  

Through this evolving healthcare environment, architects and designers can show owners how well-planned spaces can support group exams and other emerging healthcare delivery models.