MIT Sloan Health Systems Initiative
Spatio Metrics healthcare analytics improve building design decisions
Last October, MIT alums and co-founders Sonal Singh and Jim Peraino, gave a presentation about their company, Spatio Metrics. They launched the company to prove that hospitals can save time, money, and lives through data-driven building design. Instead of assessment following design, the most common evaluation method, now architects can predict how buildings will perform before construction even begins. Architects’ and financiers’ informed decisions make it likely that buildings contribute to better healthcare processes and outcomes, including better patient health, minimizing travel distances for nurses and higher patient satisfaction scores by investing in the comfort of spaces like waiting areas. The end results of making science-based decisions about building layout are more efficient use of hospital resources, enhanced patient outcomes, and perhaps better employee morale.
Spatio Metrics Analysis Engine
Architects are Spatio’s primary customers, although they have also worked with health systems directly. Architects upload either their clients’ current floor plans or their designs for future floor plans, and many have used the tool in meetings with health systems leaders to drive design decisions.
Once the architect uploads the floor plan, the analysis engine generates a score card with insights in a structured and easily comprehended format. The architects can make changes to the plan to emphasize specific spatial characteristics and see how those changes play out – before their hospital client invests several million dollars in a building. The Analysis Engine does not spit out recommendations. Rather, the platform offers data for discussions about the different payoffs and consequences of decisions.
Spatio Metrics worked with a major hospital and architect on the hospital’s first new inpatient building in 20 years. The health system was interested in designing the new building to support more efficient nurse operations. By using the tool, the hospital’s transition planning team leveraged quantitative scores and floor plan visualizations to communicate changes to the nursing staff. These conversations spurred adjustments to nurse staffing models. In the end, the new building had 30% more rooms with direct nurse supervision and 45 fewer minutes of travel per nurse per shift.
Spatio Metrics Adapts to Address COVID-19 Challenges
Recently, the company has focused on addressing spatial challenges resulting from COVID-19. The Analysis Engine and platform are easily adaptable to these tasks. A Spatio Metrics team built an open-source social distance measurement tool available to the broad designer community and smaller businesses to help them make informed decisions about bringing people back to work safely. They heard from users that the tool was used to reconfigure restaurants, retail storefronts, and offices in ways that minimized spatial risk before re-opening.
Some company leaders approached the founders to ask about mitigating spatial risk as they bring employees back to the office. Spatio also built a COVID Workplace Diagnostic that analyzes data such as traffic patterns, desk exposure to foot traffic, and the width of hallways. With the knowledge that architecture affects health and a data-driven platform to provide science-backed insights, these workspaces can be redesigned to protect and benefit worker’s health and morale when they return full time.