One size does not fit all: A diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation model for an emergency department

Lindsey Guinther, Allison Carll-White, Kevin Real

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This study presents a detailed account of processes and multiple methodologies used in conducting a diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation (POE) in an urban hospital emergency department. BACKGROUND: Healthcare design POE research findings can lead to improved work environments for healthcare providers and higher levels of staff, patient, and visitor satisfaction. METHODS: This evaluation was conducted in two separate phases over 12 months, with data analysis occurring after each phase. Phase 1 involved 200 hours of observation, physical measurements, and occupancy counts. Phase 2 included surveys (n = 315) of staff, visitors, and patients. In addition, eight distinct staff focus groups (e.g., Nursing, Housekeeping, Physician, etc.) were conducted. RESULTS: To illustrate the process, one healthcare design-related issue, privacy and confidentiality, was assessed in light of the linear design model with a central core. Phase 1 observation results indicated that most confidential conversations were contained within the linear core. However, Phase 2 focus groups revealed that many staff members had concerns regarding the level of privacy and confidentiality due to the core's open design. The use of multiple methods provided greater information and a more comprehensive picture of the emergency department environment and design. CONCLUSIONS: This study presents a comprehensive framework for diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation in healthcare design. The findings indicate that a systematic, multi-methodological approach developed around a conceptual framework can lead to higher quality evaluations. Diagnostic POEs should be grounded in extant literature and customized based on the setting, the client's guiding principles, and the design team's objectives. In diagnostic POEs, one size does not fit all. © 2014 VENDOME GROUP LLC.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15-37
Number of pages23
JournalHealth Environments Research and Design Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Case study
  • Design process
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Post-occupancy
  • Privacy and confidentiality


Dive into the research topics of 'One size does not fit all: A diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation model for an emergency department'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this