Since joining the HEALTHCARE DESIGN team last year, I’ve noticed my entire perception of healthcare facilities has become much more thoughtful and introspective. With each visit to a doctor’s office, I think more and more about how I feel and what influence my surroundings have on my trip.

When I met recently with a new physician, she asked me what kind of magazine I work for. I told her what we do here at HCD and her reaction was pretty matter-of-fact: “Oh, yes, we need help with that.”

It made me feel a bit more justified about the brief periods of panic I used to get when walking into the medical office building where her office, and my family physician’s, is located. I never much thought about “wayfinding” until this past September; but I now understand where its features are painfully missing. I now “get” why I dart toward the elevators of the MOB because that’s the only place I know will have some sort of signage telling me where I’m heading.

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the large-scale, jaw-dropping architectural feats some hospitals are accomplishing around the country. We certainly enjoy featuring them on the pages of our magazine. But I’ve discovered over the course of my time here that the practice of healthcare design is just as much about making sure someone feels comfortable finding his or her way to a simple office visit.

And I’m happy to be a part of that.