Pre-occupancy evaluation of patient satisfaction in hospitals

Johan van der Zwart*, Theo J.M. van der Voordt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To explore analytical drawing techniques as a means to assess the attainment of preset objectives in the design phase of hospital buildings and to test ex ante if the building fits with these objectives, with a focus on view on nature, wayfinding, daylight, visibility of patient areas from reception desks, privacy, and communication between medical staff and patients, and noise reduction. Background: The impact of the build environment on user value is at the core of evidence-based design, but these values are normally only experienced by users after the building is constructed. Therefore, assessment of these values during the design phase could improve the outcome for patients. Topical Headings: An analysis of available assessment tools showed that research by drawing and the use of space syntax methods is an adequate means to visualize the strengths and weaknesses of floor plans in relation to spatial user experience. This approach is illustrated by an assessment of a nursing ward of the Deventer hospital in the Netherlands. Conclusions/Recommendations: Floor plan analysis by using space syntax techniques makes it possible to visualize various aspects of user value and supports the incorporation of usability issues in the discussion between the designer, the client, and the users during the design process. It is recommended to test the findings of the design assessment by a postoccupancy evaluation of the building-in-use and to conduct similar studies in other hospitals, as a means to build a body of knowledge for user-oriented design and management of hospital buildings. ª The Author(s) 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-124
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Design assessment
  • Hospitals
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Space syntax


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