It's becoming apparent that there is a gradual move from a hospital to a healthcare system. This method supports programs of care that cross hospital and practice settings, reduces duplication, and allows greater integration with hospital-based resources.

At HEALTHCARE DESIGN.11 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, James Harrell, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, design leader, Healthcare Group, GBBN Architects, Inc., and Timothy Gramann, MBA, CEO, Group Health Associates Affiliated with TriHealth shared some of the standards that needed to be incorporated into the design of this urban setting and how those challenges can be met. The session, "Enhanced Patient Experience—Design Driver for Urban Hospital-Based Ambulatory Care", explored some of the processes.

A separate yet connected building identity, convenient vehicle drop-off, parking, seamless entry with a sense of arrival, security and privacy, intutitive patient flow, branding entry points of complementary specialties (wayfinding), balancing vision and identity, and inclusion of a care team module suite are all part of the vision of delivering a setting that focuses on patients and families.

It's no surprise that patients want quick and convenient service, access to comprehensive diagnostics, and convenient access to physicians. The goals must be clearly identified: patient convenience, clarity of entry choices, streamlined and quick check-in, welcoming hospitality-type enivronments, positive distraction (artwork, views of nature, coffee shop), immediate access to ancillary services, designing a destination building with a "front door" concept, and more.

Harrell and Gramann showed how to design for flexibility of practice patterns for multispecialty physician teams where physicians are encouraged to share offices to cut down on space inefficiency. Harrell pointed out that most physicians are willing to accept this type of layout. The pedestrian bridge that connects visitor and patient parking to the medical facility can be replaced with a model that incoporates other services (physical therapy, optometry, pharmacy) for outpatients who do not necessarily need to have access to the interior of the facility.

Providing comprehensive care is important. As Harrell pointed out, "We're planning for the immediate while preparing for the future."