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Usability evaluation (IEQ survey) in hospital buildings

Leena Aalto (Department of Healthy Workspaces, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)
Sanna Lappalainen (Department of Healthy Workspaces, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)
Heidi Salonen (Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland)
Kari Reijula (Department of Healthy Workspaces, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland) (Clinicum – Department of Public Health, Helsinki University, Helsinki, Finland)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

As hospital operations are undergoing major changes, comprehensive methods are needed for evaluating the indoor environment quality (IEQ) and usability of workspaces in hospital buildings. The purpose of this paper is to present a framework of the characteristics that have an impact on the usability of work environments for hospital renovations, and to use this framework to illustrate the usability evaluation process in the real environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The usability of workspaces in hospital environments was evaluated in two hospitals, as an extension of the IEQ survey. The evaluation method was usability walk-through. The main aim was to determine the usability characteristics of hospital facility workspaces that support health, safety, good indoor air quality, and work flow.

Findings

The facilities and workspaces were evaluated by means of four main themes: orientation, layout solution, working conditions, and spaces for patients. The most significant usability flaws were cramped spaces, noise/acoustic problems, faulty ergonomics, and insufficient ventilation. Due to rooms being cramped, all furnishing directly caused functionality and safety problems in these spaces.

Originality/value

The paper proposes a framework that links different design characteristics to the usability of hospital workspaces that need renovation.

Keywords

Citation

Aalto, L., Lappalainen, S., Salonen, H. and Reijula, K. (2017), "Usability evaluation (IEQ survey) in hospital buildings", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 265-282. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-03-2016-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited