Posted by David Betts

Evidence-Based Design to Improve Pharmacy Department Efficiency

In 2014, the Smart Space team undertook a study to aid the design of a pharmacy building and improve the efficiency of the department. The study observed the workings of the department over two days, capturing 3,478 staff movements, producing an adjacency matrix to highlight which functions were being utilised together. This data driven approach helped highlight to stakeholders what the true dependencies in the department were, and aided the creation of a new design that reflected these adjacencies.

The team compared three layouts:

  • The existing layout
  • The originally proposed layout
  • A new layout based on our evidence-based understanding of the adjacencies

The findings showed that the evidence-based design predicted a 24% increase in efficiency for the department, compared to a 9% decrease in the original proposal. This study highlights the importance of data used to drive design of new building concepts, and how such an approach can help to attract support from key stakeholders.


Figure: Walking distance maps of the existing building compared with the evidence-based design

Abstract: Using a case study of a pharmacy department rebuild in the South West of England, this article examines the use of evidence-based design to improve the efficiency and staff well-being with a new design. This article compares three designs, the current design, an anecdotal design, and an evidence-based design, to identify how evidence-based design can improve efficiency and staff well-being by reducing walking time and distance. Data were collected from the existing building and used to measure the efficiency of the department in its current state. These data were then mapped onto an anecdotal design, produced by architects from interviews and workshops with the end users, and an evidence-based design, produced by highlighting functions with high adjacencies. This changed the view on the working processes within the department, shifting away from a focus on the existing robotic dispensing system. Using evidence-based design was found to decrease the walking time and distance for staff by 24%, as opposed to the anecdotal design, which increased these parameters by 9%, and is predicted to save the department 248 minutes across 2 days in staff time spent walking.

Authors: F. L. Greenroyd, Dr. R. Hayward, Prof. A. Price, Dr. P. Demian, Dr. S. Sharma