Seattle King County Public Health

Seattle/King County Public Health provides primary care and personal health services in communities throughout the County.  Their quality of care is unmatched, but their existing clinics were not designed to support contemporary public health care services and education.  Awkward floor plans interfered with care, privacy and safety of staff and client alike.  Private offices defeated collaboration.  Dated, institutional interiors implied that public health care was second class care.  Poor organization produced longer than necessary client visits, staff coordination challenges and inefficient space utilization – all while operational costs continued to climb.

healthcare-seattle-king-county-health-3Buffalo Design worked closely with S/KCPH to develop a new service delivery model that provides flexible, efficient organizational concepts for patient care and community education.   A new design standard for community public health centers was implemented to achieve four critical goals:

  1. Improve the Client Experience:

A non-institutional, stress-reducing environment helps eliminate the stigma of public health care and better reflects the quality of the services being provided.  Fresh, light-filled interiors are uplifting, easy to keep clean and professional without being intimidating.  Clear spatial organization makes access to information resources and staff easier.  Healthy lifestyles are encouraged by example:  non-toxic building materials and furnishings are utilized throughout.  Carefully designed lighting and controlled daylighting improve productivity.  Integrated acoustical elements quiet the environment, improve privacy and reduce stress.

  1. Focus on Client-Centered Service Delivery:

A trip to the Health Center changed from an all-day commitment to a comfortable, satisfying visit.  Services are brought to clients rather than moving them from service to service and as a result visits for clients and families are shorter, client privacy is enhanced and comfort is increased.  Support service locations are optimized to provide faster, better care while saving valuable space.  And that space is now available for flexible community rooms hosting healthy cooking demonstrations and wellness classes.

  1. Improve Provider Safety and Effectiveness:

The new, flexible, team-oriented environment promotes collaboration and the exchange of information among providers serving the same client or family.  Privacy rooms are provided to ensure confidentiality.  Client care spaces and provider work areas are separated, increasing safety and client privacy.

  1. Implement Change within Public Funding Constraints:

The open, collaborative workplace, together with efficient supply management improvements reduce the floor area per client served by nearly 30 percent.  SKCPH made smart choices and Buffalo Design worked creatively to put limited resources to work where they provided the most benefit to the community.

“Since our opening we’ve received many positive comments from our clients on our colorful, cheerful, friendly, and clean our client service areas. The new design accomplished our goals: supporting a client centered care environment, enhancing team collaboration that is focused on providing high quality care for our clients, and providing staff the opportunity to focus on completing documentation and projects with a minimum of distraction from nearby co-workers.

Thank you for supporting the delivery of public health services with dignity.”





2014 International Interior Design Association, Healthcare INawards Northern Pacific Chapter

2014 National IIDA Healthcare Interior Design Award