Iowa Hospital Uses Innovative Design To Reduce Error

The Des Moines Register reports on the design of Mercy Medical Center-West Lakes, a $100 million hospital with 83 beds set to open Sept. 8, that uses innovative approaches to try to reduce medical errors.

"The hospital's administrator Dan Aten described how the facility "is the result of three years of design, discussion and research. ... Mercy officials spoke with staff members and patients in addition to visiting sites throughout the country as part of a planning process focusing on 'evidence-based design.' A key concept is 'same-handedness,' which is seen from the operating rooms to patient rooms. The intent is to cut down on medical errors."

The Register also notes that "(c)ost-saving features appear throughout the hospital. Extra sinks and hand sanitizers are installed in patient rooms and hallways as constant hand-washing reminders. Rooms are also equipped with ceiling lifts -- staff members can lift patients up to 600 pounds with the touch of a button, avoiding the potential for disability claims" (Villanueva-Whitman, 8/26).

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