Healthcare Facilities Planning and Design


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  • online
  • on demand



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Who should attend

  • Chief executives
  • Faculty management staff
  • Hospital and healthcare facility administrators
  • Medical and non-medical personnel

About the course

Healthcare facility design is more than picking the right wall colors or materials. If done well, healthcare facility design and planning can transform your organization and improve safety, operations, and the bottom line. Above all, an optimal, patient-centered healthcare environment has the power to improve clinical outcomes.

This six-course certificate program provides you with in-depth instruction in effectively using evidence-based research to improve a healthcare environment. Core courses cover the critical components of healthcare facilities design planning. Learn excellence in change leadership, stakeholder management, and strategic alignment with organizational goals. Create your strategic plan and execute and assess it by using data to gauge impact. Learn some of the critical skills you need to lead your project to success or dive deeper to interpret technical facility design plans.


Planning and Designing a Healing Environment

Nearly every major regional healthcare facility in the United States is in the midst of or planning a capital improvement project. How can you be sure that such projects in your organization incorporate best practices and achieve their intended goals? The answer is to look at the evidence: what are the approaches that other healthcare facilities undertaking similar projects have used that have worked?

This course explores the use of Evidence-Based Design (EBD) to guide the planning, design and management of healthcare facilities and systems. After this course you will be a more intelligent and discerning consumers of research evidence and related information, and be more a productive participant in the planning and design process. You'll learn the key steps in the planning and design process with a focus on how the facility affects quality of care and the experience of patients and care-giving staff. Case studies illustrate design approaches that lend themselves to patient-centered care and that lead to greater operational efficiency and effectiveness. A course project provides students with the opportunity to apply what they're learning to the creation of an outline of a facility plan for their own organization.

Basic Tools for Facility Planning

The process of designing a healthcare facility has a special mission: to have a positive impact on its many users—including patients, families, visitors, nurses, physicians, and other clinical and non-clinical staff—while simultaneously fostering cost-effective operations. To achieve the best outcomes, it is important to involve a variety of stakeholders. An informed group can help to ensure a more efficient working process with architects and engineers, and can contribute to stronger, more broadly-based and more cost-effective decisions.

This course introduces the must-know concepts and related terminology of healthcare facility planning. The course touches on those aspects of capital improvement projects that a manager or stakeholder might encounter in a healthcare setting, including working from a budget to estimate potential sizing of facilities, estimating costs, and recognizing key features of architectural and engineering drawings. At the conclusion of the course, you will be a more intelligent consumer of information and a more effective participant in the healthcare facility planning and design process.

Practice Based Research

When a healthcare organization is potentially committing millions of dollars to a capital improvement project, it's critical to ensure that the design conforms to best practices and is likely to achieve the intended results. It's equally important to be able to measure the effect of the new facility according to specific metrics to ensure those results are being achieved. But reviewing the published Evidence-Based Design (EBD) literature for every issue or design decision may not be the best use of your time.

This course offers practical advice and guidance about how project participants can conduct their own research on a timeline and budget appropriate to a project schedule. It lays out a practical approach to conducting small-scale, relatively rapid empirical research studies targeting a specific project, in contrast to relying exclusively on the published EBD research literature.

This course is particularly relevant because most hospitals and healthcare facilities have a major design project underway, or are about to begin one. The various stakeholders in the planning and design process must understand evidence-based design and how they can conduct practice-based research that complements the published EBD research literature and provides insights and evidence for their own specific project.

Changing Organizational Culture in Healthcare

Healthcare delivery continues to be in a state of constant change and as a result, today’s healthcare leaders must transform the way their organizations respond to and lead change initiatives. In this course, professionals will “reset” their thinking around how best to understand, measure, implement, and lead successful change initiatives.

Leaders will assess their current culture, map out the ideal future state, create a business strategy consistent with the organization’s vision and values, and ultimately implement the strategies or business processes needed to affect and support the organizational culture they want.

Elective (2 Courses)

Leverage Emotional Intelligence for Project Results

Even experienced project leaders will ask themselves “Why won’t people listen to me?” or “What went wrong with my plan?” Of all the skills critical to project leadership, emotional intelligence may be the most important—and least understood.

In this course, you will learn to identify, analyze, and manage emotions, both yours and your team members’.

It is a common mistake among project leaders to focus too heavily on the mechanics of project management while neglecting the critical people skills that keep everyone engaged and working harmoniously. In this course, from Robert Newman of Cornell’s College of Civil and Environmental Engineering, project leaders will explore concepts of emotional intelligence and practice skills relevant to managing emotions so that they can enjoy better project outcomes. You will focus on five critical aptitudes: communication, relationship management, decision making, conflict management, and motivation.

Aligning Healthcare Products, Services, and Strategies

Healthcare organizations and the physicians who run them often approach the task of management in much the same way as they approach a patient: they quickly identify symptoms or problems, make a diagnosis or analysis, and develop a treatment plan or solution. While this technique may work when making decisions about day-to-day operations, it's inadequate for evaluating the overall health of an organization and for making long-term survival plans. Effective strategic planning requires healthcare managers to shift their perspective from being a service organization to being a business.

This course teaches you several models to help you lay the foundations of a strategic plan based on the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing your organization. Ultimately, you will learn how to collect the right data to help you evaluate whether to invest in, discontinue, or develop certain products and services to ensure any strategic plan you devize will be profitable and in alignment with your organization's mission and vision.

How to Build A Strategic Plan for your Healthcare Organization

Many medical groups develop strategic plans that are never implemented because the plans did not articulate how to measure progress, did not assign resources to do the work, and did not consider how to report on the goals.

This course asks you to apply organizational information you’ve gathered using analysis tools such as SWOT, BCG, and Porter's Five Forces to develop a strategic plan that includes specific details about who, what, when, where, and how to work on each of the agreed-upon strategic goals.

Ultimately, this course will equip you with the tools to be able to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that involves the right stakeholders and that aligns with your organization’s core mission and values.

The course Identifying and Aligning Products, Services, and Strategies Throughout a Healthcare Organization is required to be completed prior to starting this course.

Leading Change in Healthcare Organizations

The American healthcare system is continuously in flux and requires adaptability from those working in the industry. As a leader, it’s also imperative that you make your organizations efficient and safe; improving quality is job number one. This unique balance of priorities requires healthcare leaders to ensure that everyone across the organization is in support of and working towards achieving new initiatives that will secure organization’s competitiveness into the future.

In this course, you will learn how to prepare your organization for change at the individual, departmental, and organizational level by focusing on communication and the development of a change management plan.

Key course takeaways

  • Identify areas in need of improvement in the U.S. healthcare system
  • Develop a strategic vision for your organization
  • Monitor progress and refine your strategic plan based on results
  • Anticipate and collect data to inform your strategic planning process
  • Effectively participate in the planning and design of healthcare facilities
  • Recommend ways to use available resources for renovation and design
  • Develop early conceptual-level cost and space estimates
  • Provide feedback regarding building and renovation projects
  • Conduct your own quick and inexpensive on-site research study
  • Interpret published research findings
  • Know how to be successful as a project manager
  • Build your problem-solving skills to help projects succeed

What you'll earn

  • Healthcare Facilities Planning and Design Certificate from Cornell College of Human Ecology
  • 48 Professional Development Hours (PDHs)
  • 6 Professional Development Units (PDUs) toward PMI recertification


Nick Fabrizio

Nick Fabrizio PhD, FACMPE, FACHE, is a principal consultant with the MGMA Health Care Consulting Group and serves on the faculty at Cornell University’s Sloan Program in Health Administration, where he has also served as the executive in residence. His primary expertise is in physician practice m...

Robert Newman

Robert Newman's teaching focuses on developing critical skills for leadership, including: emotional intelligence, individual and team behavior, conflict management and other soft-skills for project managers; business savvy, effective communication, economic analysis, negotiation prowess, managin...

Franklin Becker

Academic Expertise My area of expertise is organizational ecology; that is, I study the way in which the planning, design, and management of complex facilities such as hospitals and large corporations and R&D units affect how individuals, teams, and organizations function. Current Profession...

Brooke Hollis

Brooke Hollis serves on the leadership team of the Sloan Program and the Institute for Healthy Futures working on alumni and industry external relations. He also mentors students and serves as a faculty member. Beyond his appointment at Sloan, his ongoing professional consulting activities stra...

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