ConcentraCharlotte, North Carolina
A leader in the healthcare industry, Concentra wanted to strengthen its competitive position in the marketplace and develop a new prototype that redirected most of its focus from occupational medicine toward urgent care. The goal of this new prototype design was to shift the paradigm of a sterile and often uninviting medical clinic to a welcoming, patient-centered experience.
Concentra recognized that the unique perspective of a seasoned design firm well versed in the creation of retail-oriented, branded environments could play a pivotal role in the successful accomplishment of this objective, so they selected Little as their design partner.
Little initiated the relationship with Concentra by crystallizing the healthcare organization’s brand, starting with gaining consensus as to the company’s overall brand strategy. In partnership with Frame 360, a series of exercises were conducted with key stakeholders at Concentra to establish a comprehensive understanding of the company’s DNA and its various customer groups and subgroups. Armed with this essential information, such as behavioral and lifestyle characteristics, income level and other demographic traits, brand development then progressed to the next stage. This involved a holistic reconciliation of Concentra’s brand messaging across multiple touchpoints, including its behavior, communications, environment and service offering.
Fig. 01Based on a newly created and more refined brand promise, Little began to transition Concentra’s brand from word-based documents into a full visual experience.
Since most retailers symbolize aspects of their brand through their logo, the evolution of Concentra’s identity began with that visual element. Little’s branded graphics experts teamed with key stakeholders at the company to design a logo that is more recognizable as a health care organization and that symbolizes a stronger patient-centric focus. The logo, whose bright blue and orange colors are inviting while communicating as a sense of urgency, served as a roadmap for the creation of Concentra’s new marketing materials and other collateral, also designed by Little’s branded graphics team.
Space Design & Customer Journey
Similar to the process performed during brand strategy development, Little conducted comprehensive audits to thoroughly understand the needs of both patients and doctors and how those needs should inform the space design and its adjacencies. This phase also included an exploration of successful retailers whose brands are particularly strong and who are known for delivering positive customer experiences. The resulting patient journey Little created is specifically mapped throughout the space so Concentra’s brand will unfold along probable paths of movement.
“We selected Little because of their comprehensive retail expertise. From the very beginning, this team understood the importance of implementing retail design principals to create a new patient centered approach that has allowed Concentra to improve the healthcare experience of our patients.” Bill Demianczyk, Vice President, Real Estate, Concentra
Attention To Every Detail
With improving every aspect of a patient’s visit as the primary goal, Little integrated design elements and functional characteristics within the prototype to address details of every scale, starting at the parking lot entry through to the check-out desk. Sofas, semi-private built-in areas and individual seats in the welcome lounge accommodate various needs of patients upon arrival, and large room numbers and names clearly identify exam and procedure rooms to help orient patients throughout the space. Translucent windows from the hallway in to the exam rooms minimize patient anxiety as they wait for the doctor, and interior wayfinding signage incorporates icons to serve non-English speaking visitors.
Concentra’s attention to detail is further reinforced by the standard placement of clearly labeled medical and cleaning instruments. Choreographing every aspect of the patient path was intended to demystify medical services so patients feel more involved in their own treatment. Ultimately, experiential and programmatic elements woven throughout the journey facilitate better interactions with caregivers and transform an otherwise anxious event into a calmer, more productive one.
Results Beyond Architecture
This design process, from brand strategy to final construction documents, took approximately seven months. Every element of the 10,500 square foot prototype, informed by a ‘customer-focused’ retail design approach and grounded in a holistic brand strategy, contributes to the welcoming and patient-centered environment that truly embodies Concentra’s mission of “improving the health of America, one patient at a time.”
“Getting better faster has always been central to our business model, but in the new consumer-directed health care market, customer service is paramount to future success. We wanted to change the health care experience to one where patients were more confident and engaged in their own health and treatment, instead of anxious and apprehensive about the level and cost of care, and the experience they might have.” Ted Bucknam, President of Concentra