ICU as informational interface: A model for data-driven ICU design

Julie Zook, Upali Nanda, Kate Renner

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Intensive Care Units (ICUs) can be regarded as configurations of informational interfaces that are ultimately aimed at preserving the lives of patients. It is important to develop analytical tools and design strategies that support staff as they layer information-seeking activities into their clinical tasks, with information having the potential to arise from the patient, patient chart information, and others in space of the ICU. This study merges data from a Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) program with space syntax plan analysis for seven ICUs, focusing on spatial correlates of staff ratings of design support for time at bedside and ease visual connections with peers. We build here on existing space-syntax-inflected research that has identified links between design and outcomes in ICUs by correlating quantitative descriptions from floorplan layout analysis with measures of design performance. Our approach is focused on creating the theoretical and analytical groundwork for an ongoing POE program, with the intent of expanding the dataset and ultimately improving the capacity to draw design implications from POEs. In the initial analysis of ICUs described here, visual contact with peers appears influenced by the integration of key work zones, namely centralized and decentralized nurse stations, both of which have the capacity to act as hubs of information-sharing through the patient chart and through social interaction. Design support for time at the patient bedside, by contrast, appears more influenced by local shape properties of the plan where it links patient rooms and nurse stations. Specifically, greater convex step depth was associated with decreased staff perception of support for time at bedside. Given the small sample size and the exploratory intent of the study, these findings should be taken as preliminary, but nonetheless are expected to be useful to the ongoing POE work.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Event12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019 - Beijing, China
Duration: Jul 8 2019Jul 13 2019


Conference12th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2019


  • Healthcare
  • Plan geometry
  • Post occupancy evaluation


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