Fort Smith, Ark. – Taking marching orders from none other than the patients and doctors themselves, Mercy Clinic has redesigned the way health care is delivered in their new Dallas Street location.
Lessons learned start at the front door with a covered canopy area for convenient drop off and pick up and an open gallery-style waiting area. Patients then have their choice of either using the central kiosk to check themselves in or they can go to one of the receptionists. Larger exam rooms accommodate family members or friends accompanying the patient to their appointment. Wider corridors with straight hallways make it easier for patients to find their way around the office.
“If you look at how health care facilities have historically been designed, they are like giant mazes that patients have to tunnel through when they feel their very worst,” said Cindy Beckham, Mercy’s executive director of building design. “It creates a great deal of anxiety for patients. If there is any time in someone’s life when they need the process to be simple, the people to be compassionate and the place to be as calming as possible, it’s when you seek health care.”
The $4.4 million building is 12,940 square feet large. It has 26 exam rooms as well as onsite lab and x-ray. The clinic is wired for Mercy’s electronic health record. Each room has monitors on moveable arms so doctors can show patients their x-ray or lab results at the touch of a button. Several suites are equipped with cameras and diagnostic tools for telemedicine consults if needed. In addition, everything from the color of the walls to the carpet on the floors was carefully chosen to provide a soothing atmosphere.
“We know that healing environments help patients get better,” said Kerry Schuette, Mercy’s director of interior design. “When people are comfortable and their stress level is lower, they actually heal faster. We want to create healing spaces for our patients.”
Primary care physicians located in the building at 7800 Dallas Street are:
Mercy Clinic Dallas Street is part of Mercy’s $192 million community master plan. It includes plans to build four more Mercy Clinic locations with the same style and design as well as bring an additional 80 new physicians to the community.
“It’s simply not acceptable to us that people have to wait weeks or even months to get a doctor’s appointment,” said Dr. Cole Goodman, Mercy Clinic president. “Buildings like this will not only help us make our patients more comfortable but attract the new physicians we need to remedy the current physician shortage.”
Mercy Clinic Dallas Street will hold a community open house on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tours of the facility will be offered as well as free flu shots for visitors.