How we designed Steady Health's patient-focused location from start to finish.
The challenge in designing a modern clinic like Steady Health is to put together a space that has all necessary clinical tools but reflects a new approach to care, specifically diabetes care. While interviewing Chloe Blain, the designer behind Steady, she explains,
“Our main goal for the clinic was to highlight Steady Health’s human-centered mission and make members feel comfortable.”
Our founders, Henrik and Björn, shared similar sensibilities so we focused our efforts on statement elements to reinforce these core values. The consultation room, shown below, has display shelves with simple, ornamental objects that put a human feel in the space, while still having containers and space for clinical tools.
Björn, our Chief Medical Officer, explains that the goal for the consultation room was to design an equally comfortable space for everyone; to create a feeling of collaboration and signal a lack of hierarchy in the room. This is the reason for the round table and multiple chairs, “We wanted our members to feel like they can bring a friend or family member into their appointment for extra support,” (type 3 friendly!)
For being a technology-forward company, you won’t find many screens or gadgets laying around. “You may notice that there are no computer monitors in the consultation room, and even the screen on the wall dissolves into artwork when it’s not in use. We felt that it was important to focus on the technology enabling a human experience — not just the tool itself”, explains Chloe.
We also found an alternative way to scribe office visits. Taking notes has become more common in medicine as detailed documentation is legally required, while the expectation for doctors to pay attention to their patients is also critical. “The intuition is to have everyone in the same room, but we wanted to try having a scribe listen in from outside the room. We felt that it could be distracting to have a third person in the room that isn’t taking part in the conversation,” Björn explains. This allows the conversation and collaboration to take place between the main players — the clinicians and the members.
“It would be easy to say we’re tech-driven and make it look sleek and high tech, but it’s actually more modern to hide the technology in the background to support the work we’re doing as people,” Björn explains.
For the front office, in order to maintain a high degree of openness we have with our members, a transparent divider was chosen to separate the clinic space from the office space.
Chloe further explains this deliberate choice, “It empowers members to look behind the scenes, get involved, and take control of their health. Similarly, the divider provides a psychological barrier between clinic and engineering spaces, but it is see-through. It is playful and translucent but is composed of rigid and opaque elements. It strikes a balance between comfortable and clinical, relaxed and professional. The vertical wooden elements also help emphasize the high-ceiling, which is important in a small space.”
“It empowers members to look behind the scenes, get involved, and take control of their health.”
Our team worked quite a lot to get the right amount of transparency for the divider, “We went through many rounds of figuring out what the right amount of space would be between the wooden bars. We didn’t want people to feel watched, but still wanted to allow them to see movement,” explains Björn.
“Soft elements were chosen to create a welcoming space. Natural elements and greenery universally evoke calmness and well-being.”
The space, in general, has a professional, yet comfortable and inviting feel. I asked Chloe about the color scheme of the space, “Soft elements were chosen to create a welcoming space. Natural elements and greenery universally evoke calmness and well-being. The color palette is about natural materials and muted tones. Soft greens are associated with life, freshness, and safety, and lend themselves well to healthcare environments. Honest materials such as solid, oiled oak suggest professionalism and confidence. Rich finishes such as cork and textured fabrics are sound-dampening and bring comfort and intimacy.”
Thanks to Henrik Berggren and Björn Hansell, MD.