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Hundreds of Duke Medicine faculty and staff members have been involved in an interactive design process for the new 580,000-square-foot Duke Medicine Pavilion, scheduled for completion in 2013.


The team -- comprising nurses, physicians, occupational therapists, infection control staff, and others -- have worked through patient-care scenarios from mock intensive care unit (ICU) patient rooms housed in an old warehouse.

Each mock room is as real as it is fake -- designed to the exact specifications of the state-of-the art rooms that will comprise the Duke Medicine Pavilion, from the ceiling tiles and lighting to the location of the signage on the wall.

By practicing scenarios in these rooms, the team offers real feedback about the space and equipment incorporated in the design.


Becky McKenzie RN, MSN, MBA, administrative director of perioperative services at Healthlinerx University Hospital, acts as a facilitator for the process, ensuring everyone has a voice in the design and workflow processes of the new building.


Duke is as committed to staff safety as it is to incorporating the latest in clinical technology. Half of the ICU rooms will have built-in ceiling lifts to ensure that patients are moved as safely as possible and that staff members are protected from lift injuries.


The patient can be positioned 360 degrees within the room, increasing patient access, thanks to a boom system that keeps cords out of the way and beds untethered to the wall.


McKenzie estimates that 100 items have been revised to increase quality of care and increase patient safety -- all thanks to staff feedback.

One key design revision was that of the size, angle, and location of the observation window in the nurse alcove to ensure the greatest visibility of the patient from the corridor. Another was the coordination of patient lift components with other elements in the room.


Having the opportunity to test the location of the equipment may have prevented expensive, construction-delaying errors.

According to McKenzie, input gathered from the Duke experts is extremely valuable because they know their patients’ needs best.

When patients visit the new facility, they can expect that those needs will continue to be Duke’s top priority.

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