On March 9 2012, my wife and I had our daughter Elvira at Vanderbilt Hospital. The baby is incredible. Hospital decor is not. Needless to say, my exhausted brain had plenty of time to wander over two nights of sleeping next to my wife on a convertible-couch-cot thing. I hadn’t been in a hospital for a long time, and Vanderbilt is an impressive compound. I was amazed at the sheer scale and organization necessary to operate a business that’s about saving lives. It’s insane. Being a manager at a hospital must be a daunting task. This got me thinking about a radio show I’d heard a few months back about Hospital layout. 99% Invisible is a brilliant radio show that tells stories about the ingenious design that surrounds us every day and largely goes unnoticed.

This particular episode is about how a hospital in Seattle used a Toyota factory in Japan as a model for redesigning their hospital. It also goes into customer experience and how surgeons sacrificed their large offices with floor to ceiling windows, for the patient. Customer experience and streamlined navigation made the Virgina Mason Medical Facility much more successful in multiple ways. Though this story doesn’t directly relate to anything we’ve been doing in class, it does concern rational design, customer satisfaction, and it obviously resonates with me at the moment. Ah, and it gave me an opportunity to tell you about 99% Invisible. Listen in: