The medical field, by its nature, is constantly in a state of evolution and self-improvement. New treatments, new equipment, and new philosophies in care management are constantly being developed, improved, and implemented. Medical office designs have recently seen a significant shift in philosophy and practice: namely, a purposeful move toward increased efficiency and patient-centered medicine. Design professionals have begun to incorporate these new ideas into their facility designs, and one major shift has been in a humble but vital area: which type of door the facilities use. At the cutting edge of this field has been AD Systems, a Washington-based firm that designed one of the first contemporary and high-quality sliding barn door systems and continues to innovate in the field.
Changes in Medical Office Designs
One important sea change in medical facility design is a new emphasis on saving both professionals’ and patients’ time through small but incremental improvements in efficiency. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel entirely, many facility designers are finding ways to shave minutes or seconds off the time spent doing necessary, repetitive tasks. This requires asking simple but important questions: How easy is it to get a computer cart through this hallway? How long does it take a nurse to get from their station to an exam room? If gloves need to be restocked, how long does it take to get them? Trimming time off these important tasks can produce big gains in efficiency, which over time can translate to better patient outcomes.
Patient privacy has also become a bigger priority than ever. HIPAA and other privacy-protection laws have made it vital for hospitals to impose strict controls on the dissemination of sensitive patient information, and medical facility design has had to keep up accordingly. Improving security of record-keeping systems, while important, must often be paired with simple offline protections, such as controlling the transmission of sound within facilities.
Often, improving efficiency in these areas requires questioning fundamental assumptions. One important question facility designers have begun to ask is whether there are more efficient options than the traditional swinging door for medical office designs, and the answer has often been a surprising “yes.” The sliding barn door has begun to replace the swinging door in many facilities, thanks to its great performance improvements over the swinging door in a variety of important areas, particularly efficiency and privacy.
What the Sliding Barn Door Has to Offer
Despite its rustic-sounding name, the sliding barn door represents the cutting edge of medical office design. AD Systems developed the first widely-used sliding barn door system in 2009 for use by their commercial clients. They quickly realized that the strengths of these doors made them ideally suited for medical facilities, and a few years later, the ExamSlide was born. The ExamSlide possesses several qualities that make it exceptionally well-suited to the medical office environment:
1. Easy and quiet operation.
The ExamSlide is a surface-mounted sliding door that features Soft Close technology to prevent accidental loud slamming and reducing the risk of pinched patients. ExamSlides are top-hung with heavy-duty rollers and seldom require maintenance. Their technology is simple but manufactured to the highest standards of quality, making the ExamSlide a hassle-free option that saves medical facility operators time and money.
2. Efficiency and space-saving design.
The typical swinging door can occupy up to 30 square feet of space on a floor plan for swing path and clearances, and in a busy medical facility with frequent back-and-forth movement of equipment and personnel, 30 square feet is often far too much. Swinging doors often necessitate design concessions like wider hallways and larger exam rooms that can prove cumbersome when designing a floor plan. The vastly reduced footprint of a sliding barn door is an important space saver, and sliding doors typically do not have to be opened as far or for as long as swinging doors. Moreover, the ExamSlide’s top-hung design means it has no exposed floor track to impede wheelchairs or carts.
3. Excellent privacy protection.
The ExamSlide is tested up to the NIC 39 acoustic dampening standard for excellent sound control. Clients have the option to add a patent-pending acoustic seal on all four sides of the door for maximum noise protection. The ExamSlide’s design leaves almost no gap for sound to escape through, preventing transmission of private conversations.
For these reasons, the ExamSlide has become the solution of choice for design professionals looking to save space and protect privacy in medical office design. To get started with a quote from AD Systems, contact them using their easy and secure form, or call 425-374-1360.