Employees offer feedback on ED exam room prototype

When it came to designing new exam rooms for the Emergency Department (ED) in Rochester, Minn., the planning team turned to the people most passionate and knowledgeable with the rooms for help — the employees who use them every day. More than 200 employees toured a prototype patient exam room and offered suggestions.

"Before we build 70 rooms, we want the design to be the best it can be," says Eric T. Boie, M.D., Emergency Medicine, who is leading the renovation along with Martin E. Wolfe, M.D., Emergency Medicine.

Nurses, doctors, residents, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, infection control staff, housekeepers and a patient advocacy group, as well as maintenance, finance, registration and operations employees, toured the exam room mock-up.

Susan M. Todzy, R.N., an ED nurse who helped guide tours, said, "People are passionate about this. Some took pictures and returned pages of ideas."

Todzy says the feedback from the tours has been extremely valuable. Adding counter space for families and providers was a suggestion that was immediately incorporated into the room design. The initial layout did not include a place for family mobile devices or beverages.

Dozens of other ideas are being evaluated, from the location of the code button — higher, so a curious child doesn't push it — to where soap hits the sink. "Every idea will be considered," says Dr. Boie.