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Elevating the Patient Experience Through Playfulness and Discovery

(Originally published in the June 2019 issue of High-Profile magazine)


One of the fastest growing trends in healthcare design is the emergence of clinical environments that don’t feel clinical. Healthcare organizations are increasingly drawing on the power of the built environment to enhance and elevate the patient journey.


Research has shown that patient stress is reduced in environments that feel more familiar, comfortable and are easy to navigate. However, there is an additional layer of our human experience that responds when our environments enrich us. In her book “Welcome to Your World”, Sarah Williams Goldhagen states that these well-designed environments can help us flourish by providing nourishment for our mental and physiological well-being.


Ordinary elements of design executed in an extraordinary way can have a positive impact on our capabilities as humans to learn and remember, respond to stress, navigate our world, and take in our environment visually and through movement. “Imbued with character,” these environments are “layered with meaning.”


Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has embraced this approach, demonstrating a commitment to creating patient-centered environments of care and incorporating technology beyond the procedure room.


“Research continues to validate the large role experience design plays in creating healing environments,” said Gil Peri, president and COO. “Connecticut Children’s is reinventing that patient experience and ensuring we do everything we can to create a WOW experience for those children that walk through our doors.”


Working with Connecticut Children’s staff and providers, Hartford-based Tecton Architects was challenged to create environments that build community and nurture healing while facilitating care. Each space harnesses the positive effects of energizing color, soft forms, natural light and biophilic imagery to create a welcoming and reassuring environment for patients and their families. This atmosphere is scalable, from a simple implementation in a waiting room to a complex, themed environment. The Connecticut Children’s brand and spirit are evident as a feeling, more than a literal interpretation of a standard, and provide a common thread between offices and facilities.


In particular, Connecticut Children’s new Infusion Center in Farmington presents a study in imagination and investment in the patient journey. Understanding the grueling hours that children can spend in treatment for chronic conditions, the team envisioned a creative and energizing space that balances patient care and delight. Through physical and digital design features, the feeling of a mystical outdoor adventure was created.


“By layering subtle details throughout the space, each visit offers new discoveries to uncover. From the color-changing lights, to the secret passageways between tents, to the exam room graphics that merge into one, the architecture adds nuance to an otherwise repetitive experience,” said Laurel Clark, project architect for Tecton.


The challenge in crafting these enriched environments lies in establishing balance – blending creativity and practicality, harmonizing playfulness with universal appeal, and synchronizing immersive design with the core mission of providing exceptional care. When we design environments rich in experience and discovery, we fundamentally elevate our human capacity.


Click the following link for more information:

Connecticut Children's Infusion Center

860.548.0802 Connecticut  |  401.596.7555 Rhode Island

© 2016 Tecton Architects, PC. Copyright

860.548.0802 Connecticut  |  401.596.7555 Rhode Island