Conducting a “Day in the Life” event can assure staff that the things “keeping them up at night” have been considered and solved prior to a facility opening.

February 9, 2022

Consider ‘Day in the Life’ Issues Long Before Healthcare Opening

Learn team members' varying perspectives to guarantee that all operational processes and space considerations are clear prior to Day One operations.


It’s common to hear the phrase “Day in the Life” (DITL) during the activation of a new healthcare space, but what does that really mean? The first day of operations is hardly the time to consider everyday activities and discover that something significant is amiss in the new space.

Imagine trying to wheel a patient into your gleaming new building only to find that the light switch is on the other side of the room? You don’t want to leave your patient to turn on the light switch, and now an architectural change must be made. This involves shutting down the space temporarily to make the changes, further costing the hospital time and money on top of the time and money already invested to build the space.

Meanwhile, if you had walked through a day in the life with the nurse who would be performing the task, you could have identified this change prior to opening. Although it might have some associated costs to change it, now it would still be less of a headache than if the space were fully operational.

DITL planning starts months before the actual opening. All staff affected by the move are asked to contribute items that “keep them up at night.” Common concerns include “Where will we store these specific supplies?” or “Now that we have such a large waiting space, how will we know where to look for our patients?” By asking various team members, we learn different perspectives desperately needed to guarantee all operational processes and space considerations have been addressed prior to Day One operations.

Combing and sifting through all of these “keeps you up at night” items, scenarios can be developed to link items together, so we are hitting multiple items during each scenario. Some services areas will even have the same items they would like to test (i.e., if the blood bank is moving, multiple services areas will wonder how the move will affect their work). Developing those scenarios to include all the different areas allows us to benefit from diverse viewpoints during the DITL scenario and focus on more items during the DITL event.

The amount of planning surrounding the DITL is significant. Depending on the size of the new space and the services areas being affected by the move, the DITL could involve dozens of scenarios comprising hundreds of employees and items being addressed to guarantee efficient and safe Day One operations.

The logistics and organization of the DITL are pivotal in engaging the staff participating in the DITL event and in hitting the key items within each scenario. A successful DITL event can assure staff that the things “keeping them up at night” have been considered and solved prior to opening. Additional outputs of a successful DITL event include minimizing time and money spent on any architectural or construction changes, minimizing patient safety risks and increasing awareness of hot-button items that will need to be addressed either before the move or in the future.

Although a DITL event can be time-consuming to plan and execute, the benefits easily outweigh the costs. Even if the DITL event doesn’t pay for itself by finding an architectural change early on (which it most likely will), the staff’s peace of mind and new familiarity with the space during the DITL event are invaluable.

Contact Haskell’s Healthcare Consulting team specializes in highly successful help ensure that your facility launches smoothly and according to a thoughtful, comprehensive plan.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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