Recently, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, added several floors to its existing bed tower, offering the chance to study outcomes of inpatient unit decentralization on teamwork and operational efficiencies. In a session to be presented Wednesday at 10:30 AM in Delta D at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN.11 conference in Nashville, Debajyoti Pati, PhD, FIIA, LEED AP, executive director of CADRE, Barbara Summers and Pamela Redden of MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Mahbub Rashid of the University of Kansas, will present their findings to HEALTHCARE DESIGN attendees, offering valuable empirical evidence on this hotly debated topic within the healthcare design community.

I spoke with Dr. Pati about what to expect from the presentation:

Can you outline what was measured at MD Anderson in relation to this study? 

We measured nursing time use on all task types and categories developed in the TCAB (Transforming Care at Bedside) program; walking distance; acute stress; and presenteeism. We also looked at staff interaction and collaboration, but as of this time, data analysis is still in progress and no interim findings are available. 

Can you provide a general overview as to your findings?

There are no findings to report on staff interaction and collaboration at this time. Among the remaining variables measured, performance in six areas changed consistently between the centralized and decentralized unit models.

How do you think these findings might influence the design community to differ the way they execute the inpatient unit?

These are empirical evidences that will help design teams decide the specific areas where it makes sense for them to decentralize in their specific context. The overall impact of these findings is that a  fundamental rethinking regarding the optimal size of an inpatient unit is in order.