Administrative workplaces in healthcare: Designing an efficient and patient-focused environment
Journal article, 2016
The article presents an “Evidence-Based Concept Program” for the administrative workplaces in healthcare. Several studies show that Swedish doctors and nurses use about half their working time on administrative work. Despite this, very little attention has been given to the design of administrative workplaces in healthcare. Although healthcare focuses on detailed functional planning of their clinical areas, administrative workplaces are typically designed very traditionally, supporting hierarchical and downpipe organisations. Consequently, they are not always supportive of today’s healthcare needs, which focus on teamwork around the involved and informed patient. This makes provision of healthcare less efficient and patient friendly. However, new technologies and new ways of working means that the conditions for administrative/office work have changed drastically in recent decades. It is therefore time to seek inspiration from other sectors of society so as to rethink healthcare design. Conclusive report findings indicate that a changed approach needs to be introduced to the design of administrative workspaces. Mapping exercises of existing conditions show low utilisation of non-care-related administrative workplaces. These workplaces can be made more efficient by organising the plan according to activity-based usage and thereby reducing the area needed. Included survey also indicate that the degree of utilisation of administrative workplaces close to patients is relatively high. The report concludes that patient-related administrative workplaces need to be developed further through adding new room types and number of functions. Unused space can be redistributed to care located closer to patients, as the need is greater and this will help promote work efficiency. However, the design of new and more activity-based administrative workplaces in healthcare relies heavily on the introduction of new portable and seamless information and communication technology (ICT)-systems.