Active Projects

Optimisation of healthcare facility spatial layout

Project Facts

Start date: December 2007
End date: November 2010
Investigators Dr. Monjur Mourshed and Prof Jonathan Wright
Staff Employed Yisong Zhao
Status Completed

Project Partners

  • NHS- Leicestershire County and Rutland PCT
  • Leicester City PCT
  • Qingdao Municipal Hospital
  • China Medical College
  • Qingdao University, China

Project Partners

Department of Civil and Building Engineering
Loughborough University
Ashby Road
LE11 3TU
T: +44 (0) 15 0922 2627

Despite significant technological and scientific advances in healthcare provision and treatment, many economies are struggling to address increasing costs while enhancing accessibility to quality health and care services. Globally, around 8.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on healthcare, with United States spending 17.4% and there is a growing interest in reducing healthcare costs and improving quality of care in terms of patients’ outcomes and their perception.

There have been significant capital building programmes in the National Health Service (NHS) since the publication in 2000 of the Government policy on modernisation of health and care delivery in the UK. With regard to physical capacity, the target was to create over 100 new hospitals by 2010 and 500 new one-stop primary care centres. The initiative was seen as a way to modernise the physical facilities as well as the key health and care delivery activities that take place in and around them. Space layout design is considered as one of the primordial activities in a building’s lifecycle and impacts on the ‘human to environment’ and ‘human to human’ interactions.
It is, therefore, essential to understand the factors that influence the design and outcome of space layouts, in particular in healthcare buildings because of the complex functional relationships that exist between the activities.

This research investigated: users’ perception of physical environment indicators that had the potential for influencing their wellbeing and care outcomes; and the integration of their perception in the design of healthcare facilities through automated space layout planning. Resulting perception indicators were then used in a prototype automated space layout planning system, developed as part of this research, to aid the optimization process. Female healthcare providers were found to be more perceptive about factors related to sensory environments such as visual, acoustic and olfactory, compared to their male counterparts. The working pattern and length of service had associations with perceptions of maintenance and environmental design factors.

Respondents ranked abstract and more subjective design factors such as aesthetics and the presence of coordinated art objects lower than the factors generally associated with the safe and efficient delivery of service. The findings suggest that the developments in healthcare and allied fields have implications for the design of space layouts and the resulting buildings and are as important as some of the functional aspects such as efficiency and productivity. The other notable factors can be attributed to the need to mitigate the impacts of, as well as adapt to, the global climate change.