Kristin Hermann

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About Me

I was born and raised in Atlanta and earned my undergraduate degree from Auburn University. After graduating, I moved to Orlando, Florida to work for Walt Disney World in their Industrial Engineering Department. This is my first semester at Georgia Tech, and I am pursuing my master's in Health Systems. I am very excited to be back in Atlanta and living with my older sister.

I am a huge sports fan and love to play soccer. I also have a cat named Noah and enjoy hiking, cooking, and water skiing.


8/22 - First Class

I am excited about working with everyone in the class and the opportunity to collaborate with different disciplines.

8/24 - Julia Jones

It was a great opportunity to hear Julia Jones speak today. Her experience and insight into hospital design exposed me to many design elements I would like to further research and incorporate into our project. I am especially interested in "room messaging" and the impact of information on the patient/family experience, their outcome, and their level of understanding/education. Other key take-aways from her presentation are; the integration of efficiency, philanthropy, and patient focus into design, and how consideration of payer/service mix is an essential criterion for successful design.

Below is an interesting link to "A Pediatric Hospital Bedside Patient Entertainment & Education System" that has been piloted at ACH Arkansas Children's Hospital.


8/28 - Dr. Zimring

Evidence Based Design

Dr. Zimring's presentation on EBD was great! It really opens you eyes to the impact that design can have on patients and their health outcomes, patient safety, and caregivers. I was very interested in the idea of creating a patient and family centered environment. I think it is vital for families to feel comfortable in their surroundings and have a sense of control. Dr. Zimring talked about designing for the whole person and creating a controlled environment where the design focus "moves from the institution to the individual." Some ideas from creating a patient and family centered environment include:

  • music
  • positive distractions
  • natural lighting
  • 3 zone rooms: family zone, patient zone, and caregiver zone

9/1 - Hugh Spalding Tour

Five Observations

  • Inefficient layouts and low ceiling created confined spaces that are hard to work in.
  • Harsh florescent lighting did not create an environment for healing.
  • The inpatient waiting room was very small and did not have many family-friendly elements.
  • There were limited way finding techniques that made it hard to navigate the hospital (especially in the tunnel between Hugh Spalding and Grady).
  • The inpatient rooms have limited privacy and required patients to share bathroom facilities.

Five Ideas

  • Create a larger, more efficient layout for the ED to eliminate the lack of privacy for patients and cramped spaces for caregivers.
  • Creating new waiting areas that are large enough to accommodate waiting family and friends and that focus on a child/family friendly environment. This could include mobile seating, interactive stations and toys for children, and access centers that allow families to stay connected through internet, educational materials, and update the patients’ condition.
  • Developing self registration kiosks for repeat patients especially in the asthma and sickle cell clinics. This will streamline the registration process for repeat patients and can serve as an outlet to personalize the patients visit and provide educational materials based on historical and current visit.
  • Implementing creative external way finding techniques so that patients coming to the hospital form multiple directions can easily find their way to the single entrance under stress.
  • Using lights or screens to make the tunnel between Hugh Spalding and Grady more aesthetically pleasing. The screens could project images that patients have drawn during their visit to Children’s.

Three Conversations

  • The architect and facilities planners talked about the need to design a flexible space that can accommodate future growth. The new Hugh Spalding design has planned for growth in the number of inpatient beds, and the size of the asthma and sickle cell clinics.
  • Julie Jones discussed their plan to co-locate the ER, Urgent Care, and Out Patient Clinics. She explained that many patients may come to the ER, but after triage, they can be better served in Urgent Care. By co-locating these departments Hugh Spalding can easily direct patients to the most appropriate care and best utilize the resources of these departments.
  • The facilities manager discussed that the hospital will remain 100% operations during construction. Managing the transition to new spaces is a critical component of the planning and execution phases.

9/4 - Patient-Centered Care

Gerri's presentation on patient-centered care did a great job of linking what people need/what from healthcare to how the environment and caregivers can provide that. The Foundation for Accountability listed the top things people want from healthcare:

  • Stay healthy
  • Get better quick
  • Lead a good life
  • Die comfortably and supported

Gerri described how the intersection of care processes, culture, and physical design can create patient-centered care that improves quality and safety. Physician and patient interaction is a critical componenet of patient-centered care. The role play exercise showed the difference in the patient's expereince when the caregiver listened carefully to the patient's sypmtoms, needs, and desires. She also dicussed other key components that help create an patient-centered environment: 1. information, communication, and education 2. Physical comfort 3. Emotional comfor 4. Involvment of family and friends. I am interested to learn if there are studies that measure the impact of these components. Can we prove that increasing outlets for patients to stay connected with family and friends will improve outcomes? My personal belief with that it play a major role in patient success.

9/6 - Perkins + Wills

I loved seeing the pictures of the Perkins + Will hosptial designs! One message from the presentation was "operations drives design." This message emphasized the importance of obervations and learining existing processes in order to design an space that promotes imrpoved processes. I was amazed by the "adopt-a-rooms!" They were beatiful and cutting edge, and think the idea should be expanded to more hospitals around the country. These rooms really created a healing, home enviroment for pediatric, cancer patients and allowed for upgrades in space, technology and features that many hospital rooms cannot afford. I was also interested in the Halifax Medical Center ER. I loved the ideas of the modules that allowed for increased sightlines and the ability to see all rooms from the nurse station as well as two other modules.

9/11 - Healthcare IT

Ellen's presentations was a great way to learn about the current technology advancements in healthcare as well as some blue sky IT ideas for the future. I think information visualization is an interesting topic and one that should be further advanced. Improving the way caregivers and patients see data can help them deliver better care as well educate the patient. This is also critical as EMR and COWs become more popular in healthcare.

I am also interested in patient distractions. I think this is an important healing aspect in pediatrics and can help children feel more comfortable in the hospital setting. If patient distraction tools can balance entertainment with education they can be very successful reducing pain for the child and helping them cope with and treat their illness. Some of the innovative ideas include:

  • media centers with x-box, tv, and video
  • virtual glasses
  • interactive waiting room walls

9/13 - DJ Feathers CHOA

DJ Feathers from CHOA did a great job of explaining the hospital design process. DJ emphasized the need to include caregivers in the design process because they will be working in the space and can focus on the details that make a design successful. The CHOA principles of design were:

  • growth / future expansion
  • child friendly
  • improve / create adjacency
  • improve efficiencies
  • front/back of house
  • enhance security
  • increase amenities
  • increase parking

Part of the design process is programming. This is where all groups come together to discuss space needs in words and numbers to create a efficient design. In the Workplace Redesign project a committee was formed of caregivers who spend at least 80% of there time at bedside. During the process they focused on the basics to redefine their processes and determine design elements to improve those processes. The team identified and prioritized 122 design elements. Some of the priority one elements include:

  • overall unit design
  • boom / overhead wall system
  • exterior windows
  • defined zones in patient rooms
  • mini work stations

9/18 - David Cowan

David's presentation focused on engineer's role in healthcare, the current status of the healthcare in the US, and important aspects of pediatrics. The biggest problems facing healthcare today are access, quality, and cost, and all three are linked. Engineers bring project management to healthcare through a systems and quantitative approach. I thought the discussion on successful teams was very helpful and good to keep in mind as we move forward with the design process. Some of the key components of a successful team are:

  • leadership
  • brainstorming - nominal group technique
  • structured decisions
  • divide and conquer
  • deference - honoring decisions
  • action

It was also important to think about what makes pediatrics unique and how this should impact our design decisions. Some of the important qualities that stood out to me are:

  • A wide range of ages - impacts everything from design and entertainment to the size of equipment, food requirements, and pharmaceutical needs
  • Patients are not alone - must design spaces to accommodate families (waiting rooms, patient rooms, and common areas)
  • Developmental needs - adjusting to the varying need of children from social to physiological

Other aspects that make pediatrics unique is the atmosphere. Working with children creates a different environment. Childrens bring positivity, high energy, and appreciation. It is also important to focus on the long term value of healing children because they are our future.

9/20 Group Presentations

Important focus areas for our designs include:

  • way finding - moving beyond existing technology
  • distractions for sickle cell and asthmas - focusing on the balance between entertainment and educations
  • waiting room - adjustable and comfortable to all ages with aspects that keep people informed and in control
  • recurring patients - how to make their visit more efficient and customized
  • fear - how to effectively ease patient's fears through the feeling of control, limiting the unknowns, and education
  • remote monitoring - remotely monitoring chronic care to reduce hospital visits and give patients more control over managing their illness
  • hand-offs - how to effectively manage hand-offs from one caregiver to another or from the hospital to the home