Setting the Stage: A Comparative Analysis of an Onstage/Offstage and a Linear Clinic Modules

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Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to understand how two different ambulatory design modules—traditional and onstage/offstage—impact operational efficiency, patient throughput, staff collaboration, and patient privacy.

Background:

Delivery of healthcare is greatly shifting to ambulatory settings because of rapid advancement of medicine and technology, resulting in more day procedures and follow-up care occurring outside of hospitals. It is anticipated that outpatient services will grow roughly 15–23% within the next 10 years (Sg2, 2014). Nonetheless, there is limited research that evaluates how the built environment impacts care delivery and patient outcomes.

Method:

This is a cross-sectional, comparative study consisted of a mixed-method approach that included shadowing clinic staff and observing and surveying patients. The linear module had shared corridors and publicly exposed workstations, whereas the onstage/offstage module separates patient/visitors from staff with dedicated patient corridors leading to exam rooms (onstage) and enclosed staff work cores (offstage). Roughly 35 hr of clinic staff shadowing and 55 hr of patient observations occurred. A total of 269 questionnaires were completed by patients/visitors.

Results:

The results demonstrate that the onstage/offstage module significantly improved staff workflow, reduced travel distances, increased communication in private areas, and significantly reduced patient throughput and wait times. However, patients’ perception of privacy did not change among the two modules.

Conclusion:

Compared to the linear module, this study provides evidence that the onstage/offstage module could have helped to optimize operational efficiencies, staff workflow, and patient throughput.

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