Healthcare Design: Understanding the On-Stage/Off-Stage Model

The organization and relationship between patient and caregiver spaces is one of healthcare’s most fundamental design questions.

The organization and relationship between patient and caregiver spaces is one of healthcare’s most fundamental design questions. There are numerous organizational models in healthcare design, each focused on a different arrangement of the many patient, caregivers, and provider areas required by healing spaces. The On-Stage/Off-Stage Model provides shorter waiting times for patients, more collaboration opportunities for the care team, and shorter distances to exam rooms which, in turn, help increase the amount of time a caregiver can spend with a patient. The On-Stage/Off-Stage Model is the foundation of our recent Parkview Physicians Clinic designs, with two currently in operation and a third under construction.

On-Stage/Off-Stage Design

On-Stage areas are the spaces primarily for patients or family members. These spaces include waiting rooms, exam rooms, labs, and other patient care areas. Off-Stage spaces are the “behind the scenes” staff-only spaces. These include the care team pods or work stations, the internal corridors, caregiver break rooms, medical storage, and other secured staff-only areas. Separating patient and staff corridors helps improve both efficiency and patient experience. Each exam room has two entrances – one for the patient from the public corridor, and another for clinical staff accessed from the private nurse core.

Patient Care Benefits

One of the main focuses of the On-Stage/Off-Stage design is better and more efficient patient care. Providing patients with more direct access to exam rooms allows for shorter waiting times and more facetime with physicians. Patients are escorted or directed to their exam rooms where they are met by the physician. Caregivers are notified when the patient is being taken to their room so the process can be as streamlined and efficient as possible. This adjacency to the care team core provides direct access to patient information and team support, which then allows the patient to have a more efficient and enjoyable experience.

Staff Care Benefits

Providing direct access to the exam rooms is also very beneficial to the care staff. Having a shorter distance between exam rooms and the care team workstations allows for more time with patients and less fatigue for caregivers. Not only does this model provide easier access to patient information and team support, but having a central care team space is also a great way to allow for more opportunities for collaboration between the clinical staff.

Final Thoughts

The On-Stage/Off-Stage design approach for outpatient facility design can provide an efficient and pleasant patient experience while providing decompression and care team-focused spaces for the clinical staff. Providing separation for patients and caregivers can have a great effect on the overall experience and relationship between the two.

Emily Larason IIDA
Interior Designer