Long dreary corridors, impersonal waiting rooms, the smell of disinfectant — hospitals tend to be anonymous and depressing places. Even if you’re just there as a visitor, you’re bound to wonder, “How can my friend recover in such an awful place? Will I get out of here without catching an infection?”
But the transformation of the Rotterdam Eye Hospital suggests that it doesn’t have to be this way. Over the past 10 years, the hospital’s managers have transformed their institution from the usual, grim, human-repair shop into a bright and comforting place. By incorporating design thinking and design principles into their planning process, the hospital’s executives, supported by external designers, have turned the hospital into a showplace that has won a number of safety, quality, and design awards — including a nomination for the prestigious Dutch Design Award. Even more important to the not-for-profit organization: patient intake rose 47%.