“ Rebuilding a hospital is expensive. What we’re seeing here is smart ideas to provide better care to patients within a tight budget. ”

Hon. Tony Ryall Minister of Health

Two years after a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake and dozens of aftershocks wiped out homes, churches, roadways and hospitals in New Zealand, the citizens of Christchurch are picking up the pieces and rebuilding infrastructure. With a need to redesign and rebuild a large portion of its healthcare facilities, the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) is turning the tragedy of the earthquake into an opportunity to completely rethink their approach to care delivery.

As part of that process, CDHB engaged NBBJ with a request to facilitate and train their staff in immersive design processes including participatory workshops and full-scale rapid prototyping. CDHB was committed to “disruptive thinking” so they could advance their approach to care delivery. Based on a shared patient room model — a staple of New Zealand's health system — the effort sought to develop three design drivers: (1) increase sightlines from hospital employees to the patient and the patient to the outdoors; (2) optimize social engagement and better integrate family participation in care; and (3) increase safety.

Rapid Prototyping Driver #2: Optimize Social Engagement
Rapid Prototyping Driver #3: Increase Safety
Rapid Prototyping Driver #1: Increase Sightlines

The Process

The NBBJ team flew to Christchurch where they set up shop in a large warehouse to produce the prototypes and analyze results. Once the design was complete, prototypes were tested, feedback was documented and lessons learned were presented to the group. The last day of the week-long prototyping exercise included a final report to key stakeholders at the CDHB. Since the session, the designs have received positive feedback from prominent leaders and healthcare professionals from around the country.

Video: Watch the Session in Action


Stuff.Nz, “Canterbury hospitals set back years by quake,” March 2012