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Last updated:
22:07 22-Jul-2005

Copyright 1999-2005
Ian Jefferies
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Theme Hospital Clinic: Room design

"Larger rooms make patients and staff happier"

Overview

Alice surveyed the assault course before her

One aspect of Theme Hospital that is easily overlooked is the placement of items within a room. When a patient enters or leaves a room they have to walk to the machine that is going to diagnose or treat them. Careful placement of these machines, and the door the patient walks through, can greatly reduce the time a patient spends in a room. As a result of this you get your money earlier, and any queue building up outside that room is handled more quickly. 

A basic design can be worked out by studying the room descriptions, but the best way is to study that room in use. See where both the doctor and patient walk, and then redesign the room at a quiet time. Then check that you have actually improved matters. Subsequent rooms that you build can incorporate this design knowledge, and you are assured of better throughput. 
 

  • The path of least resistance
  • Decorating your room
  • Room size
  • Redesigning a room and area
  •  

    The path of least resistance

    • study the item(s) the patient walks to
    • don't place items to block this route
    • watch what the doctor does before/during and after a patient

    Each room has one or more items that the patient needs to use. For the GP's office it is the chair, for the cardio it is the screen then the cardio machine, then the screen again. By placing these items closer to the room entrance the patient has a shorter distance to walk. 

    Each machine also has a point at which the patient gets into it. Sometimes the patient has to walk around the machine to get there: very ineffecient as they will walk back the same way! Placing this 'entrance point' close to the door (even on a straight line with it) so the patient just walks on. Make sure you don't place other items (plants, bins, fire extinguishers etc.) in the way of this 'best' path. 

    A doctor might conduct several actions before or after he sees a patient. For example: in the GP's surgery he will always file the patient records away before seeing the next patient. By placing the filing cabinet within easy reach of the desk you can make the doctor work more quickly. 

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    Decorating your room

    Take pride in your office
    • Add plants, bins and fire extinguishers to your rooms
    • ensure they don't block routes
    • make plants accessible to handymen
    • some items are 'walk past'
    • fire extinguishers reduce explosions
    • VIP's like to see certain items
    • always place extra items in a room

    By adding plants, bins and fire extinguishers to your room you increase their value to the staff and patients that use them. The doctor speeds up slightly, and if the room is large enough can also have his skill increased. If these items block routes to and from machines then your patients will take longer walking around them. 

    Place the plants near the door so that handymen can enter and water them easily and quickly, otherwise they spend less time doing other things. 

    Some items (bins, fire extinguishers and radiators) can be walked past by staff and patients. They can only do this from one direction (North-South or East-West). 

    Adding fire extinguishers is supposed to make items work 'better' when they are near failure. As they are cheap items consider adding several. A VIP likes to see how well you are taking care of potential risks. 

    You should always place extra items in a room. In most cases it is quite a cheap way of improving your hospital and keeping staff happiness higher. 

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    Room size

    • build larger than the minimum size
    • easier layout of items in a larger room
    • easier to replace one room with another

    Staff are impressed by the size of their room (who said size wasn't important?) and will be happier and work more quickly. One other benefit is a gradual increase of skill that leads to promotion. Although this method is somewhat slow (training is better) it is a pleasant surprise when a doctor has been promoted. 

    Another benefit of building larger rooms is that laying out the items becomes easier. You have more space in which to create efficient patient-machine paths, and to place items that please the doctor/patient. 

    As your hospital grows you may need to change the function of a room. By making rooms larger than the minimum size they can be replaced when rooms need to be moved to other plots. 

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    Redesigning a room and area

    Its been a busy day
    • generally a room must have no occupants when redesigned
    • some items can be dropped into a room
    • be prepared to rooms/areas as your hospital grows
    • save money by dragging a room

    The room edit tool on the control panel allows you to move machinery around until you have it placed to your satisfaction. When you select a room for editing it must be empty of patients and staff. A 'zzZZ' mouse cursor will be displayed if the room cannot be edited. Wait until the occupants leave or move them out manually. 

    Items like radiators and plants can be dropped into a room without removing occupants. They can also be picked up by right clicking on them. This makes it far easier to balance the radiator heating in your hospital: staff and patients will complain if you get it wrong. 

    As the demands on your hospital increase so it must grow in response. An early design that can handle a trickle of patients usually can't cope later on, so be prepared to adapt your hospital as the situation demands. More ideas are given in the strategy section

    Sometimes you have to move a large and expensive room to another wing of the hospital (usually training or research) because you didn't initially have the money to buy the 'best' plot for it. Instead of throwing away a room that is expensive to build, remove all the items (reduce the room to its floorplan) and then drag a corner to the new location. The room spans the entire hospital but doesn't interfere with it. Then move the other corner and replace the items in it. 

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