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Last updated:
22:07 22-Jul-2005

Copyright 1999-2005
Ian Jefferies
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Theme Hospital Clinic: Strategies and tips

"Doctor required in psychiatry!"


Cheap at half the price

Design and construction of a good hospital is your best hope of a cure. You shouldn't find a placebo here, but use your judgement on where they should apply. More importantly, judge where they should be broken. 

There are some more ideas in the rest of this guide, but particularly in the courses on room usage and micro design. If you've had a relapse then go and take them again. 

If you want to see these strategies in action then take a look at the walkthrough page. It can be best understood once you've read through the strategies first though.

Addition hints, tips and strategies are welcomed from former hospital patients. Certificate of sanity from the psychiatrist may be requested. Full name credit/e-mail address will be given, and requests for any degree of anonymity will also be honoured.

  • General good practice
  • Creative staff management
  • Patient care
  • Eureka training and research

    General good practice

    Consultant GP's

    Placing a consultant in the first GP's office that a patient visits will help keep the number of diagnosis rooms down. The consultant almost always identifies the disease. If the consultant fails then the patient is usually sent to the ward (built to support the operating theatre) or psychiatry (a diagnosis and cure room in it's own right).

    When a patient needs an extra diagnosis room, you can either build it, or take a risk on the identification percentage.

    Your research effort can now concentrate primarily on creating cure rooms, instead of extra diagnosis rooms.

    Allow for growth

    Coming through!

    Design your hospital with expansion in mind. By standardizing room size and/or thinking ahead you can make the transition to higher numbers of patients. 

    Your initial hospital will be quite small, one or two GP's offices, one or two diagnosis rooms, a pharmacy or two, one or two cure rooms and a waiting area. If these start in a small cluster in a single plot of land you will have an efficient but small hospital. 

    As your finances grow you can move some diagnosis rooms and cure rooms out to other plots of land, the gaps they leave empty in the early design can easily become a GP's surgery, toilet, or part of an expanding waiting area. 

    Separate patients by diagnosis

    A larger hospital requires an overall strategy right from the start. As you gain experience in hospital design you should be able to see what the final hospital will look like and take steps to build towards it. 

    Good hospital design is based around the distinct steps that patients follow: 

    1. Initial consultation
    2. Additional diagnosis followed by a further consultation
    3. Cure

    Perhaps the best strategy is to separate patients out as quickly as possible. The initial consult area should really only be used once by a patient. Consisting of 2-5 GP's offices (depending on the size of the level) it should also have quite a large waiting area. Each of the offices should have the door about the same distance from the centre of the waiting area, patients will not then prefer the nearest office over others. Place your best doctors in this area to keep consult times short and reduce the burden on diagnosis rooms. 

    By buying plots of land and putting several diagnosis rooms in them you pull patients out of the initial consultation area. Placing another GP's office in this same plot keeps patients from returning to the initial consult area. Don't forget to place another waiting area (and toilets!) around this set of rooms as well. You don't have to put all diagnosis rooms in the same area, this can be used to further split up patients. 

    Placing your cure rooms in another plot of land keeps the fully diagnosed patients out of the way. Once cured, patients don't care how far they walk to get out of your hospital, so it makes sense to place cure rooms far away from your entrance.

    The main weakness to this is the handling of emergencies, though multiple cure rooms can make up for this in the later stages of a level. Perhaps the best compromise is to build your cure rooms in the middle of the hospital, and your diagnosis rooms in the furthest plots of land. This works particularly well with your best doctors in the first GP office the patient visits.

    Surgical plot

    Doctor! Doctor! Help me find my arm...

    A plot of land dedicated to surgery usually works well. Space for one (or two) surgical theatres, a ward, and a waiting area is usually quite stable. If this is your only ward then a nearby GP's office to handle diagnosed patients might also be useful, you can rely on PA announcements to find out when it needs to be used.

    Pharmacy cures

    More than one pharmacy placed near the hospital entrance (or emergency helipad) will help you deal with potion cures and most emergencies.

    Turn off rooms

    When you have few patients in the hospital, turn off some your duplicate rooms by setting the queue size to zero. This will force patients to use one room until the queue is too large; patients will then automatically queue for the second room. You reduce the number of doctors/nurses running between rooms and get notification (via the PA announcement) that you have a queue building up.

    Works particularly well with rooms run by nurses, and you get an opportunity to rest some weary staff.

    Diagnosis control

    The doctor will see you now

    Not all of the diagnosis rooms need to be built. Later levels give you a large selection of rooms to build, but if the right room is not available then the doctor will send the patient to the best alternative. 

    Core diagnosis rooms are: scanner, X-ray, psychiatry, ward and general diagnosis. The rest are used less frequently, or take too long to operate.

    By building the additional types of diagnosis rooms you can reduce the load on the core types. Additional doctors are usually required to carry the burden of the extra number and type of rooms. Minimize the number of diagnosis rooms by using the consultant GP strategy above, and a general diagnosis room will cover most diseases.

    Balance cure and diagnosis rooms

    Getting the balance between building new diagnosis or cure rooms is crucial. Too few diagnosis rooms and you can't identify diseases to get patients cured. It is suggested that the first new room researched that you build is a diagnostic room. At least you will get the money from the extra diagnosis charge, even if you can't give a cure.

    See the consultant GP strategy above for a way of biasing construction towards cure rooms.

    Choice, choice, choice

    You may gain some benefit by building 'island' rooms that have corridors around them on all sides. Patients then have a choice on the shortest path to their target, and if the path is too long then you don't get the money off of them so quickly.

    Particularly useful when you have a smaller hospital to manage, or in the first year or two of a later level.

    Getting into debt

    How much should you borrow? The maximum amount is about 40 percent of the value of the hospital. It is better to borrow less than this and build up the best hospital you can for attracting patients. The unused amount can be used as a reserve should you have cash flow problems.

    Be warned, get the balance between staff costs and income from patients wrong and you will steadily lose money. Watch the monthly update on the chart page (press F5). You should aim to at least balance even over a three month period (without relying on income from emergencies). Profit will come from those periods where there are a large number of patients in the hospital. You can get a large bonus of >10k at the end of the year if you've done well, on top of the emergencies and epidemics that you handled.

    Arterial flow

    Try and keep your main corridors three squares wide. This will help the flow of patients and staff in both directions. There should only be one row of chairs in a main corridor, try and build waiting areas in dead ends so that patients don't need to walk through them to get to other rooms in the hospital.

    Epidemic control

    It appears that the best way to reduce the number of epidemics you have is to make sure queuing patients are kept away from patients walking past them.

    Try building a waiting area in a dead end. If you can't do that then place benches to make a U shape around the room entrance - only patients wanting to enter/leave the room will walk past those sitting in the queue.

    Slow motion construction

    A top tip from Ashley Kissock to help you get your hospital built up:

    To extend your building time before opening your hospital: run the game on slowest whilst building and then return it to normal after you've finished.

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    Creative staff management

    New staff for hire

    Mr de'Ath, a recently hired consultant

    Check for new staff at the start of each month. You might find it worthwhile to hire a junior doctor near the end of the month so that there is a gap for a new doctor to move into (it might be the specialist consultant you are looking for!). You can then train up the junior - or sack him. This also works for nurses, handymen and receptionists. 

    Junior slowcoach

    A junior doctor walks around the hospital very slowly, if you see one pick him up and drop him in the room you think he is going to (the status bar should give you a clue when you hover the cursor over him). 

    Payday blues

    Staff also take an adjustment to their level of happiness on payday. Those who are already low on morale may be pushed into demanding a pay rise. On the other hand, if they immediately start to pick up again then they are more than satisfied with their working environment.

    Staff happiness can go up or down at other times in the month, so check morale at other times.

    Overworked nurses

    Placing the rooms run by nurses close together will reduce the number of nurses you need to hire. These rooms are the pharmacy, ward and fracture clinic. 

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    Patient care

    Standing room only

    Tell me where it hurts

    Give patients a fairly large waiting area, particularly near the entrance to the hospital where your receptionist is. Each waiting area should also have a toilet within easy reach (it doesn't have to be a large room, but place at least three stalls in it). 

    Enjoying queues

    Make waiting areas more attractive to patients. Add radiators, plants, fire extinguishers and drinks machines to keep them happy. 

    Be ruthless with the patients

    If you can't cure a patient then kick them out of the hospital (or transfer them to a rival hospital to be dealt with). The one exception to this is when you might be on the verge of researching or building a room that can cure or diagnose the disease. 

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    Eureka training and research

    Isolate the technophiles and bookworms

    Genetically modified humans

    Place research and training rooms far away from the entrance to the hospital. Patients only need to visit the research room for one reason (and they never leave!) 

    Lab rats need a big cage

    A small to medium sized plot of land is ideal for research. Build the room as large as possible, it should be able to take 4 desks easily and 6 without problem. You can also combine research with teaching in the same wing. 

    Make the cage comfortable

    Place the research/training room near a staff room (give it it's own if necessary). Staff will spend less time out of the room, particularly if the plot of land is out of the way near the start of a level. Junior doctors also walk around the hospital slowly, so they will spend less time getting to/from the staff room.

    Students in the training room need to be awake to study and learn, you may need to rest them more frequently than the "go to staff room" percentage tiredness.

    Take the slack

    Staff in the research and training rooms can be used to plug gaps at peak time, simply pick them up and drop them in the room that needs a doctor. Don't forget to return them when the demand has dropped. 

    Schools out

    Training rooms should take between 2 and 4 students (depending on the size). Once they have reached 50% or greater proficiency you should consider letting them out into the hospital and putting new juniors in the training room. 

    Having a large pool of doctors with surgery/psychiatry/research qualifications makes it easier to satisfy a specialist rooms demand.. Doctors with the surgery qualification should be trained in preference as each operation requires two doctors, but a consultant teacher with both surgery and psychiatry is best. 

    If you want to make a doctor more efficient then place him in the training room with a plain consultant. This should be your choice when you don't have/need any more psychiatrists or surgeons. 

    The fast track

    A top tip from spyboots to help you get those trained doctors out:

    I have found that if I keep the training rooms smaller, put in the skeleton and 3+ bookcases, the juniors learn faster! The more bookcases, the faster they learn, and the fewer students, the faster they learn. On levels where there is room, I'll do three or four tiny rooms, with just enough to squeeze in one desk, 3 bookcases, and the skeleton - then I train them one at a time - FAST! This only works, of course, if you can grab the teachers for hire. Then I rotate them as needed, learn/teach and rest.

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