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Empowering Women's Healthcare through Design

Thirty years ago, the healthcare industry launched its first large-scale study dedicated to women's health. The study found that women were thought of as smaller versions of men and were often ignored as an occupant or user group in design. Luckily, the healthcare industry is evolving, and designers now recognize that women have unique needs in healthcare spaces. In this blog post, we will explore how to design healthcare facilities to meet women’s needs.

Understanding the Patient Demographic:

When designing healthcare spaces for women, the first step is to understand the patient demographic. For facilities like primary care offices, patient demographics should be investigated to ensure that the space can accommodate women’s needs. A space should provide a comfortable and private place for nursing mothers with proper signage or a restroom equipped with menstrual hygiene products, for example. All these details should be taken into account to make sure that no woman feels left out of the equation. 

A diverse group of women standing side by side for a photo

Building a Trusting and Welcoming Environment in Women's Healthcare Facilities:

The second step in designing healthcare facilities for women is to incorporate elements in the built environment that inspire trust. The healthcare industry is known to be intimidating, and women, in particular, tend to feel apprehensive when visiting a doctor’s office or hospital. To alleviate these feelings of unease, it’s important to use colors, lighting, and textures that create a calming environment. Everything from the natural light, portraits, art installations, and comfortable seating can help create a relaxing ambiance.

A healthcare waiting room with abstract art on the walls

Creating a more welcoming environment including graphics from local artists and art elements from the local culture and natural resources helps make rooms feel warmer and more familiar. 

Additionally, a well-designed waiting area featuring comfortable seating, ample lighting, and a pleasant atmosphere, including cafes with organic foods and unique art on the walls or within the spaces, can help these spaces feel inviting. Facilities that acknowledge the varying demographics of women, such as those that cater to different ethnic groups or individuals with varying cultural backgrounds, can also help women feel welcome and seen. 

Designing with the Community

In the third step of designing healthcare facilities for women, consultations with the occupant group in question are crucial. This includes women from marginalized communities and ethnic groups. By speaking with women who have used healthcare facilities, designers can gain insights into the nuances and unique needs of their communities. Women bring a unique perspective to the design table, and understanding their experiences can inform decisions and create a more equitable and thoughtful healthcare design.

A painting of a community where people are walking in the streets with their kids and there are bikes and strollers
Denver Health Outpatient Medical Center 

Artist Tony Ortega 

The healthcare industry is constantly evolving. Women are increasingly making healthcare-related decisions for themselves and their families, so healthcare spaces must reflect this evolution and meet women’s unique needs. Today, we have a much better understanding of the importance of designing healthcare facilities for women. Collaborative efforts, supportive community consultations, and incorporating aesthetics that inspire trust can go a long way in making women feel more confident, comfortable, and better cared for. With all of these elements in place, we can build healthcare facilities that empower women and promote their well-being. Let’s design women-centered healthcare art for your space today.



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