Hui Cai

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I am a PhD student in Department of architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology. I had professional Architectural degree from China. And I got my master degree in architecture from National University of Singapore. I was invovled both in designing practice and research in China and Singapore for several years. My current interest is in cognition, environment & behavior. I am especially interested in the relationship between human interaction and space. email:

BTW, I work as teach assistant for this class. So I may take some pictures during class to document the class process. Hope you guys are not disturbed by my "weird" behavior. Anyway, I am very excited to working together with you guys.



Class 1 - Tue, Aug.21st

Possible Directions in Pediatric Hospital Research

1) What's the difference between children hospital and other acute care hospital?

2) Facing the shfit from emergency room to primary care, how to make it efficient & effective during the transition to emergency room?

3) How to deal with safety issue? e.g IFRD...

4) What makes a children-friendly environment?

5) What can we do to design a place for patient & family members to spend their time?

6) How to create a healing & calming environment?

7) Revolutionary idea about "waiting area". Is it possible to be a physical therapy area as well? What kind of design elements can create divergence of the patients and family mambers' stress?

8) What does patient-centered care mean in children hospital?

9) How to combine virtual and physical space?

10) How to create an environment that can accomodate changes?

Class 2 - Thur, Aug.24th

Evidence-based Design---Children Hospital in Hughes Spalding

The design of Children Hospital in Hughes Spalding is an exciting practice in evidence-based design.

  • Consideration for staff

- Efficiency of nurses is highly related to location of nurse station and substation.

- Poor handwriting of doctors may cause serious medical errors.

- Windows in staff lounge will increase staff retention.

- Internet connection everywhere and COM (computer on the wheel).

- The interface and way to use new technology. It is a big challenge not only for new nurses, but also for old physicians and nurses.

  • Consideration for patients

- Light, music and color has active impact on healing process.

- Transparency of information. How to make the process clear to the parents and hence reduce their stress? Users measure the quality of care not just by the technique qualification, but also by their own experiences.

  • Consideration for care process

- Hughes Spalding is shifting to more primary care oriented. It is an obvious trend in other hospitals in USA now. The length of stay is shortened and the care is focusing on primary care. It tends to be more accessible by users.

- Most of the doctors are not employed by the hospital. It is another trend of healthcare. There is even an increase some physician office run by indepedent physicians.

  • Some term explanations

Primary care, special care, outpatient treatment and inpatient treatment

Primary care refers to the regular checkup;

Special care refers to the care other than regular examination, but no need to stay in hospital;

Outpatient treatment refers to the treatment that the stay in hospital no longer than 24 hrs;

Inpatient treatment refers to the treatment that the stay in hospital more than 24 hrs. General inpatient refers to diagnostic.

Class 3 - Tue, Aug.28th

Evidence-based Design (EBD)- Lecture by Dr. Craig Zimring

  • What's EBD?

Evidence-based medicine - Evidence-based practice -Evidence-based Design

Dr. Zimring impressed us with a lot of stunning numbers and data.

- 3-17% of the patients were injured.

- 10% of all patient got wrong medication.

- For every 1K patient days, 3.5 patients fall, and it costs $10K for the unlitigated cases. (Now $20K!) The money is absorbed by hospital and not covered by Medicare/Medicaid.

- Planned hospital in next 2-5 years ranked 2nd in the whole national investment.

- More evidence than expected: 800+ rigorous studies.

  • Communities for EBD

- 39 active centers
- MHS (Military Healthcare System)
- Kaiser Permanente
- Emory Hospital and Clinic
- LSU $800M (Katrina reconstruction)

  • Goals (To improve care quality & safety)---EBD Features---Outcomes

EBD Features Outcome
Enough light during nurses work (esp. complex task) Reduce pharmacy & medical errors
Location of sink Reduce contamination of MRSA
Acoustic level Related to get speech intelligibility, worsen patient & staff outcome
Family zone, patient zone & care zone Improve patient, family and staff satisfaction (Emory)
Waiting room has variable seat arrangment Improve family satisfaction
Support care for whole person (control of natural light,nature and positive distraction Reduce length of stay and medicine use, fewer stress
Postive environment for staff Reduce staff injuries and trun over rate
Maximum standardization, Acuity adaptable room Flexibility, encourage multidisplinary use
  • Business case "Fable" hospital

300-bed, $240M One year cost savings $7.8M -
One year revenue increase $3.7M -
Cose Increase 5% $12M +
The increase investment of EBD can be returned in one year, while achieving a much higher quality of care.

  • Questions in mind:

1) How to systematically collect "evidence" and compile them?
2) How to calculate the increase of investment for EBD?
3) Most of the evidence are from inpatient care, how to apply them to outpatient care? What are the common points and what are the differences?

Class 4 - Thur Aug.30th

Visit the Hughes Spalding Children Hospital

5 Observations

  1. Entry lobby is small and doesn’t have enough information to help the patients and family members to navigate themselves. The door in the employee lobby can be exited but cannot be re-entered without authorized card access. But there is no obvious sign to tell patients and visitors not to exit if they want to re-enter from this door. Being locked outside will definitely increase their stress.
  2. Overwhelming colors and lack of theme. It made the space appear more cramped and busy.
  3. Poor design of waiting room. There are some toys and small chairs in the waiting room. But chairs are arranged along lines like a classroom. The toys are ages old and cannot attract children at all. There are no considerations for parents at all. How can they remain the connection to the outside and keep their daily life as normal as possible?
  4. Scary tunnel to transport patients to Grady Hospital. There are no art works in the tunnel wall, no natural light and no music distraction in the one mile long tunnel. Even for adults, it is an unpleasing journey, not to mention sick kids.
  5. Privacy is a big problem. The ED room is a multi-beds room separated by curtains. How can the patient’s information not being overheard by his/her neighbor? And there are not enough spaces for different kinds of communication, such as the communication of family members and nurses, nurses and other medical staffs etc.

5 Ideas

  1. Lobby is important first image to the patients and their family members. There should be enough information provided for patients and their parents. An interactive touch-screen computer can help the visitors get the general idea of the hospital and may be able to navigate in the space without uncertainty and stress.
  2. An efficient color code can help to relieve the stress and aid wayfinding.
  3. Provide effective distraction (personalize art decorations, music) in waiting area for kids. Introduce the efficient surveillance device that can get kids’ condition easily and keep them in contact with their parents. The design of waiting area should also consider the parents’ needs, make their life as normal as possible by providing business corner. Design of waiting area should also consider the communication for nurses and family members and other social workers.
  4. Transport equipment instead of patients. Mobilize the medical devices. Furthermore, there should be art work displayed and music played in the tunnel to distract the patients.
  5. Design a nursing floor which has better visibility and can create more opportunities of informal communication between nurses. At the same time, design different places that can accommodate different types of communication and meet different needs of privacy.

Class 5 - Tue 3rd Sep.

Lecture by Gerri lamb--Q: What’s the difference between family-centered and not family centered healthcare space?

  • Design model: Think interaction

Culture change-Work process-Physical environment-Technology

  • Pivot the room: Who are the stakeholders?

- administrators
- medical care workers
- kids and their patients
- donators
- facility management
- information systems
- architects

  • Low budget, try to be as creative as possible.
  1. Safe
  2. Effective
  3. Patient-centered
  4. Timely
  5. Efficient
  6. Equitable - SES(social Economic Statistic)
  • What do children and their families want from health care?

- stay healthy
- get better quickly when ill
- live a good life with Chronic illness (high quality of life)
- Die comfortably and supported

What is Patient-centered care?
- Choice: patient’s preference, hear and communicate to the patient, make the healthcare system works for the individual. 
Give alternatives and explanations to patients.
- Listen to family members and ask them about their needs.
Patient and Family centered care: 
To customize care to the specific needs and circumstance of each individual,
to modify the care to respond to the person, not the person to the care.
  • CAHPS survey on parents’ experiences

- Communication and interaction
- Respect

  • How well are we doing in patient-centered care?

- Staff shortage and the current situation in healthcare system Efficiency!!!!!
- An interesting finding: 20 seconds to talk with physicians without being interrupted.
- Good intentions--------poor system to support good intentions
- How can we create better system to support people to provide better care?

  • What will an experienced nurse find in the first moment when they see the patient?

- Look at everything, skilled clinics can do this very quickly. Get a lot of information in the first minute you walk into the room. Make assessment, "diagnose"
- PDCA: Assess (Plan) ---- Intervene (Do) ---- Evaluate (Check& act)

  • Self care--- at school, home….

- Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Treatments, Medication, Symptom monitoring, Seek care in a timely way
- Teach the parents to help to monitor their children’s disease. How to watch the crisis, how to deal the crisis?

  • What should a child and family-centered environment look like? How does it look, feel act differently than one is provider-centered environment? For example, how is the parents-waiting room look like?
  • Resources: Mediline, scienceweb,

Class 5 - Sep 6th
Perkins+Will Lecture

  • Questions:

1. How do we get information from clients?
2. What are the things that go wrong?
3. How can we help them to make the right decision?

1.	How do we get information from clients?
  • Tools to get information from clients:

- Questionnaire
- Presentation
- Interviews
- Observations (culture and what are the things that are doing right/wrong)

  • Observation:

- Notice those “walk around”, the inappropriate way to do things different from the protocol or the right way, because that reflect the real users’ needs.
- Go with a list of questions at hand. Go through as a patient’s experience. Observe shifts time in ER.
- Exmaple: No rooms for patients. Surgical capacity is a big problem for patients. Get to realize the real problem. It is not just enlarge the space without thinking the real function for the space.

2.	What are the things that go wrong?
  • Categories:

- Short-sighted
- Cost
- Risk-adverse culture
- Conflicting agendas
- Lengthy process/regulatory constraints

3.	How can we help them to make the right decision?
  • How to get the right decisions:

Synergy of different people: experts, line staff, outsiders

Case Study:

  • Florida Hospital
  • Adopt-A-Room, Minneapolis, MN (renovation project)

1. wider beds to parents to lie down
2. homelike shower
3. Recess room with visual & acoustical privacy (LCD distraction)
4. small and isolated office area
5. family zone- healthcare provider zone-patient zone-family zone
6. Virtual sky-light

  • Joan Glancy Replacement Hospital Duluth, GA

- third party MOB
- OP and MOB under separate construction to save cost
- OP has beds

  • Mercy Health System of NW Arkansas Rogers, AR

- Replace the old hospital
- integrated delivery process
- complete redefinition of operations as part of design process

  • Halifax medical center Daytona, FL

- Questions:

  1. How can we make the construction and work more efficiently?
  2. Single-hand PR
  3. In a racetrack plan, how to eliminate the core and make it as transparent as possible?
  4. Resolve the conflict between distributed nurse station, getting nurses closer to patients or keep nurses together since they are socialized, and need to help each other out.

- Soltuions:

  1. Quiet area for doctors and other staff
  2. “touch down’ station, serve 6 rooms (reduce walking distance) Nurses try to get everything from the meds room and resource room to the cart during the beginning of the shift.
  3. Design is adaptable to any patient type or acuity level (universal room) normal-fast-track -critical-trauma
  4. Improved visibility
  5. Resource area for family (family collaboration)
  6. Modular approach v.s. PODs (half self-enclosed PR, cannot see the other PR, and have to exit from the entry way) Modular allow visibility from other rooms, and can open up to larger rooms.
  7. 8 modules, 36 beds (2 subparts composed of 18 beds). In 2 years, it will start operation.
  • Ronald Reagan UCLA
  • University of Miami Miller School of medicine Miami, FL

- Single-handed rooms with a rail from the bed to the toilet
- Mock up to evaluate changes

Q &A

  • Craig: The medicare and medicad are not paying the medical errors any more. It is an opportunity for EBS. How to improve physical environment and reduce medical error?

What are the differences of kids? What are the differences of ambulatory care? Answer: 1. More family members; 2. Separate exam room and the room the kids stay in;

  • Home like PR, Hotel-like hospital; hospitality in hospital, is that a misdirection
  • Waiting room design

Kaiser Permanente, part modular design, part flexible design;

Self reflection: The designers play an important role to implement the ideas and questions of the users to the real physical environmnet. But some of the designs seem to still base on the rule-of-thumb. A scientific POE and approval of the evidence is in great need. They will help to advance the physical care environment and care culture in turn.

Class 7 - Sep. 11th

Ellen Do’s Lecture 1: Healthcare IT Challenges and Opportunities

1) Electronic Medical Record (How to make sure all the information is correctly input?)
2) How to balance Grady system and CHOA Management together?
Wireless Network, Client application, parent access
Medical Home Idea: every care givers share the records and all records can be put together and follow the patient. Make them work together and collaborate to help the patients, even with electronic system assistance.
REAL: Regional electronic application library??
Records don’t follow the patient or use different format of record will cause medical errors. 3) Information visualization (how to represent the data to different people? like parents and professionals)
4) COW- computer on Wheels (how to deal with privacy issue and security issue)
5) Interactive Donor Walls
6) Patient distraction (X Box, Virtual play ground such as i-dog, virtual football,Education, Entertainment)
7) Care pages like personal blog to share the experience to cure the disease
8) How to analysis, visualization the clinical data?
9) Back-up data and up-to-date data record
10) Tele-medicine: the mobile medicine to scan patient’s information (e.g. barcode on bracelet), record the symptom, scan the medicine.

Ellen Do’s Lecture 2: Design, computing and physical environment

From hand to body to large environment size

  • Hand

- Digital finger touch
- Espresso blocks (define your own façade)

  • Body

- Intelligent kitchen
- Music under pressure
- Interactive window seat

  • Environment

- Interactive environment
- Alphabet Paint Space (create person interaction)
- Movement and nature (step on tiles to show the growth of trees)


  • How to make the ambient environment intelligent?

Reduce the noise of the ICU by showing the nurse the information through the change of environment (setting up the spin-wheel for each room).

  • How to get the caregivers to wash their hands?

Try to take care of the culture and the physical environment?

  • What prevents the hospital to use the Patient Distraction Technology?

How to get transparency in care process? How to help the kids understand what will happen next, what will you do in tomorrow’s operation, examination?

  • Virtual nurse guide

Write the nurse’s information on the whiteboard, and encourage them to talk to the patients.

Class 8 - Thur 13 Sep

DJ, Lecture Children’s healthcare of Atlanta ---- Clinical Involvement in Hospital Design"

  • Facilities are always on the other side of organization.

Innovations have to base on the budget.

  • Hospitals have strong culture---What is the culture of children care at Egleston?

Clinical people should be heavily involved in the facility design, because they are the persons who are going to use it afterwards.

  • $360 million dollar expansion;

-bed increase from 430-505
- 640,000 sf new construction and 237,000 sf renovation

  • Relationship between key principles and key benefits, can the key principles be extended through the end of the project?
  • Master facilities plan team structure:
  1. System

- VP
- Commissioning
- Equipment
- Interior Design
- Information system/Technology
- Industrial Hygiene

  1. Campus based:

- Construction director
- Operational Project director

  • Write down a list of program about what are needed spaces in the very beginning and get it back to architects. Then architects check with the budget.
  • How will the innovation happen during the programming phase?

Decide the scope before the decision making, before the budget definition and function programming.

  • Workplace redesign:

Workplace redesign initiative identified as key tactic in recruitment/retention plan by CNE. Involve nurses in the process, staff level participation; Team composition: each team composed of 2 staff from support area and 5 or 6 from patient care area.

  • Process issues: look at all different processes

Work process: Function over Form
• Care teams identified key processes for:
- clinical care
- Family support
- Business operations
- Staff and management

  • Focus on the basic task of clinician.

The patient flow is also considered in the function programming stage.

  • Best practice integration: facility tours

Criteria for site visit selection: focus on the process instead of image

  • Final deliverable: Design Specification: come out 122 design elements
 Example: elements for Critical care
 Priority one:

- overall unit design (medication room)
- Boom headwall systems
- Conveyance system (How to transport the facility from outside the hospital to the hospital)
- Exterior windows
- Defined zones ( patient zone, care zone and family zone)

  • Room Mock-up
  • Review of furniture, functional layout and architectural detail,

- General inpatient room
- CIRU inpatient room


Top ten design components in creating a world class children's hospital

1) All private rooms, the larger the better, of between 275 and 375 square feet, including full path, parent sleeping area, large sceen LCD/DVD, internet access, closet, desk, refrigerator, with windows from the corridor and attractive external views.

2) Cluster rooms in neighbourhoods of 8-10-12 based o nursing staffing ratios with central areas for staff and parents and ideally visibility into all rooms.

3) Include decentralized nursing/staff charting areas between the rooms with observation and privacy options.

4) Provide space and amenities that recognize the importance of the staff, which will enhance retention and recruitment, for example, attractive lounges and locker space.

5) Provide all necessary amenities that encourage parents to not just spend the night, but to participate in the care of their children.

6) Design a facility that appeals not just to kids, but to all generations, including staff, siblings, parents, grandparents and the cimmunity at large.

7) Recognize the importance of art (including performance art) and create a permanent collection that comtinues to grow and provide opportunities for art as a therpeutic agent, for example, an art studio or artist-in residence program.

8) Create "wow" factors, theming opportunities and educational exhibits that tie to and engage the local community and the schools and provide inspiration.

9) Recognize the importance of the lobby as the second most important impression after the exterior and a "town center" full of diversion.

10) The exterior should not look like a hospital or institution.

--- Fiona de Vos, "The top ten list", in Robyn Beaver (ed.), Designing the World's Best Children's Hospitals: The Future of Healing Environments,Mulgrave, Vic., Australia: Images, P.149.