The design of the ED physical environment is critical to patient and staff safety as well as to satisfaction. Each department has a unique blend of patient needs, processes, and environments that design characteristics can help to optimize. It is critical for each emergency department to be designed as the front porch and front door to the hospital for the next 30 years, which is a typical lifespan for an emergency department.
The ability to respond to critical patient needs is the primary driver of ED design. The design should provide a safe workspace for staff and be built around the information technology commonly used in most emergency departments.
The trend in the design of emergency departments is to increase the physical footprint of the department and create more patient care spaces. In our report two years ago, the EDBA found that across most ED volume cohorts, the average is about 1,550 visits per patient care space.1 The pediatric-serving emergency departments, which flow patients more quickly, averaged about 1,900 visits per patient care space.