“Patient centered care needs to include careful consideration of the caregiver work environment.” – Brent Whiteley, Vice-President, Parkin Architects
Medication errors constitute one of the most common types of preventable adverse events leading to patient harm and fatalities in healthcare facilities today. According to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, drug- and fluid-related incidents are the second most common type of adverse healthcare events in Canada.
These errors can occur anywhere along the healthcare process, from initial prescription ordering, dispensing and administration, to the updating of medication records. A combination of social, cognitive, organizational/systems, and environmental factors all contribute to the potential for human error, including worker fatigue, workspace layout, lighting, climate control, and noise levels.
Human error is inevitable, but research over the past 20 years indicates that the design of a healthcare facility’s physical environment can have a significant impact on patient safety and staff performance. By assessing latent environmental conditions that led to human error, designers can develop solutions using evidence-based design principles to deliver more focused and efficient work and patient spaces that support staff and, ultimately, reduce potentially harmful mistakes.