The Fit Between Spatial Configuration and Idealized Flows: Mapping Flows in Surgical Facilities as Part of Case Study Visits


Purpose:This study proposes a flow mapping approach for surgical facilities that can be implemented by design teams as a component of case study tours.Background:The provision of healthcare services involves simultaneous and closely coupled flows of people, objects, and information, and the efficiency of these flows is influenced by the spatial configuration of the buildings where these services are housed. Many architecture firms conduct case study tours to inform their design process. However, these tours often lack a structured way of documenting different flows and interpreting observations. A structured approach is needed during the design process to understand the impact of spatial configuration on healthcare flows.Method:Site tours were conducted at four surgery centers to develop and test an evidence-based flow mapping approach. Idealized flows within surgical facilities were first identified from the literature, followed by the development of a data collection tool aimed at documenting these flows in each case study through a pre-assessment questionnaire, a physical assessment, and interviews with staff.Results:The flow mapping tool kit was effective in allowing the design team to systematically understand the physical configuration of surgical flows across case studies. The tool also allowed the team to identify spatial configuration characteristics acting as barriers and facilitators to idealized flows.Conclusions:The flow mapping approach was able to provide structure for conducting these short tours more effectively via observations and staff inquiry, enabling design teams to draw more meaningful conclusions from case study tours and conduct comparisons between healthcare facilities visited.

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figshare SAGE Publications



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