Pacific Medical Centers’ New Location Embodies Patient-Focused Philosophy
In 2022, Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) moved into Providence Health’s Gately-Ryan Building in Renton, Wash. The new location is closer to downtown Renton and provides greater accessibility to PacMed’s world-class healthcare. Outside, patients can easily enter the three large, free parking lots from multiple streets. Inside, the all-first-floor clinic provides a modern self-check-in system as well as expanded access to physical therapy services and a cardiovascular lab. These amenities work toward a more positive patient experience by making medical center visits easier and more efficient.
The building’s ease-of-use and efficiency goals extend from its layout to its design features, starting with one of the most frequently traversed thoroughfares—the doors. Often overlooked, doors can provide a key element to optimizing a space while also supporting occupant comfort. Providence Health and JRJ Architects specified AD Systems’ ExamSlide™ sliding door system because it is designed to meet the needs of today’s healthcare facilities. With high-quality, commercial grade hardware, the flush wood door’s precision engineered and impact-resistant framing system slides along a top-hung roller system for a smooth and space-efficient operation.
What’s more, because the ExamSlide™ sliding doors eliminate the traditional door swing path, they inherently maximize square footage. This, in turn, helped JRJ Architects create exam rooms that optimize useable space and are more accessible to align with PacMed’s patient-focused healthcare philosophy.
Offering more exam rooms and more useable space within each room
“Providence Health uses a lot of doors in our clinic applications. We learned these barn doors save 10 square feet per exam room because they require no swing clearance, so we standardized on their use,” says Erin Couch, Director of Architectural Standards and Design at Providence Health. Standardization not only streamlines the design process but also supports occupant comfort. The added space allows for exam rooms to hold more essential items and be more accommodating to those with mobility assistive devices like walkers or wheelchairs.
Not only do these doors enlarge the area of useable space within each room, but they are also easier to operate because they do not require an approach clearance. From a patient’s perspective, this makes self-rooming easier.
ExamSlide doors also made it possible for more exam rooms to fit within the building overall, which adds to the efficiency with which PacMed can provide quality healthcare. “Clients often want more exam rooms,” says Jason Mullavey, from JRJ Architects, LLC. “ExamSlide’s space-saving design effectively gave us an extra exam room for every 11 we had planned by eliminating the traditional door swing into the room.”
From an administrative perspective, more rooms facilitate easier appointment scheduling for staff. It also reduces time spent in the waiting area, both of which create an environment focused on occupant comfort.
Improved wayfinding benefits staff and patients
“The doors also support clear signing opportunities to improve wayfinding,” Mullavey continues. ExamSlide doors can be fitted with placards or laminated with their room and wing number. These options help indicate whether a person is in PacMed’s clinic space, physical therapy space or cardiovascular lab. In addition, because the doors do not swing, there will never be an open door blocking the view of the rooms behind it. This contributes to a welcoming environment and alleviates hallway congestion.
This, in conjunction with providing more exam rooms in general, drives efficiency as staff can move smoothly between rooms. It also helps patients navigate the space with less confusion. Both aspects streamline the use of the medical center, which can lead to reduced waiting times for a better patient experience overall.
Sliding doors standardize hardware for easy and accessible operation
The ExamSlide sliding door system goes beyond space-savings and a fluid environment by standardizing hardware, which has a three-fold benefit. First, it simplifies the design process. As Couch states, “Hardware can be difficult and challenging to specify for healthcare projects. There are many operational and opening width requirements to juggle. A clean and easy-to-use standard removes the guesswork from specifying a door.” This unified approach helps ensure the door fits all building code requirements, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and lowers the possibility of having to redo door specification.
It also simplifies facility care. All door handles, closing devices and wrap-around frames are built with the long-lasting, commercial grade components AD Systems’ is known for, adding peace of mind that these systems will last year in and year out. In the unlikely event that a door should need adjustment, the standardized hardware ensures any maintenance will be easy and straightforward.
Finally, AD Systems’ ExamSlide hardware is ADA compliant, so all patients can have equal access to PacMed’s care. Further, because sliding doors do not need approach clearance and are fitted with soft closers, they are easily operated by all. This both embodies PacMed’s commitment to putting patient needs first and the design goal for a building that supports positive occupant experiences.
All the above and sustainability too
The ExamSlide sliding door system does more than help streamline the design process, provide more useable space and maximize square footage. It also helps the Providence Health Gately-Ryan Building work toward the healthcare campus’ overarching sustainability goals.
“Though sustainability largely rests on creating energy-efficient buildings,” Couch says, “the wooden doors in the PacMed campus also present a key element. They are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).” Ensuring the doors’ materials come from responsibly managed forests, FSC certification indicates the growth of the trees used for the doors is sustainable and that the sale of the materials benefits those nearest to the forest socially and economically. Because Providence Health has over 50 healthcare campuses, all of which use hundreds of interior doors, the sustainability potential represented by FSC certification quickly adds up.
Opening the door to a more accessible and sustainable space
Doors are often overlooked as a way to improve accessibility and efficient use of space. AD Systems’ ExamSlide sliding door system helped JRJ Architects plan the facility to maximize room number without having to shrink room size. Eliminating the need for approach clearance and having easy to use hardware, the door also supports access for all.
Project location: Renton, Washington
Architectural Standards and Design Director: Erin Couch
Architect: JRJ Architects, LLC.
Sliding door system: ExamSlide™ sliding door system