Outpatient Clinic Design: Common Building Attributes


The demand for inpatient care has declined in the last few decades. As this demand continues to decrease, the trend for outpatient healthcare is rising. It is common knowledge that it is less expensive to build any outpatient healthcare facility. Operating these establishments costs less as well.

All outpatient healthcare facilities vary in size and in the type of services that they offer, but certain attributes of an outpatient clinic design should always be the same.

Cost Effectiveness and Efficiency

An outpatient clinic’s design should:

  • Promote the efficiency of staff by minimizing the necessary distances that they have to travel between spaces that are used most often
  • Be carefully pre-designed to ensure that all needed spaces are included, but redundant ones are excluded
  • Use space efficiently – this can be achieved by locating the support spaces in such a way that they are shared by functional adjacent spaces.
  • Be combined or grouped together with other areas that have the same system requirements

Expandability and Flexibility

An outpatient clinic design should adapt to meet the ever-changing modes of treatment, medical needs, and the workload.

  • Standard, established room sizes and plans should be used instead of specific and tight ones
  • Where the program and size allow it, the clinic should be designed on the basis of a modular system
  • The design should be served by easily accessed, easily modified electrical and modular systems
  • The design should be open-ended and with a well-planned direction for any future expansions

Sanitation and Cleanliness

To promote the very important sanitation and cleanliness of any outpatient facility, the following points need to be implemented:

  • Doorframes, finish transitions, and casework need proper detailing so that the catching of dirt and the hard-to-clean joints and crevices could be avoided
  • Durable and appropriate finishes for each relevant functional space
  • Appropriate and adequate space for housekeeping

Reference: Carr, Robert F. Outpatient Health Care Facility NIKA Technologies, Inc. for VA Office of Construction & Facility Management (CFM) Retrieved December, 2011, from http://www.arch.ttu.edu/people/faculty/alajlouni_r/classes http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/article/healing-environments-ame… http://hotadesign.com/portfolio-category/government/

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