Architects for Change

Chapter 5. Dr. Kumar’s thesis on virtual reality modeling


This chapter introduces the healthcare case study used for data collection, development and evaluation of the procedure for rapidly developing an Experience-based virtual prototype. The first part of the chapter introduces the case study, lays out the program requirements for the healthcare facility, the project description, status and context of the facility. The next section discusses the research approach and presents the timeline of the case study. The research approach includes the strategy for data collection and briefly describes the procedure for development, validation as well as evaluation of the EVPS along with a time line that shows when and how the process occurs.

The case study primarily uses focus groups as means of data collection for “Requirements analysis” of the EVPS. The focus group section describes in detail the method of data collection followed by analysis of these data to inform the development process and strategy for EVPS. Validation and strategy for development describes the rationale for design of the EVPS through identification of prioritized scenarios, spaces, end-users and overall purpose.
Development strategy for EVPS further discusses the model content, user interface and  interactive features included in the virtual prototypes as well as challenges encountered during the development process. The evaluation section discusses the first part of evaluation of the EVPS used in the design review meetings with the pharmacy staff. This section describes in detail the pharmacy program, the pharmacy’s transition planning initiative and finally the integration of the EVPS in their move planning process. Finally, lessons learned and summary provide an overview of the findings and conclusions of the case study.

The new Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital is a 263,000- square-foot, five-story facility that is expected to open by end of December 2012. The state of the art facility is currently under construction and the hospital personnel are gearing up for transition planning. The new hospital is an independent facility adjoining the main hospital and the Hershey Cancer Institute. At present, the Children’s Hospital is located on the seventh floor of the main hospital.

fIG5-1 Figure 5-1. Rendering of the new Hershey Children’s Hospital (Source: Payette Architects).
The hospital design program includes a lobby and atrium with a family resource center, performance area, a café for family meals, a safety store, meditation space and an outdoor courtyard especially designed for children. The new facility will house outpatient clinics for children with cancer, and a new pediatric radiology unit.
The new Children’s Hospital will have a total of 131 pediatric beds that include pediatric medical/ surgical beds, pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds, pediatric intermediate care unit (PIMCU) beds and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) beds. The integrated surgical and hematology/oncology suites have advanced equipment for infants and children.
The general medical and surgery beds will be in private pediatric and adolescent patient rooms with designated “zones” for families. The hospital has expanded space for PICU, PIMCU, five pediatric-only operating suites and a cardiac catheterization lab. The main pharmacy and state-of-the art blood bank will also be located in the ground floor of the facility.
Figure 5-2. Children’s Hospital under construction.
The owner, Penn State, and the design team decided to implement building information modeling (BIM) during the schematic design phase.
Throughout the project duration, the architect’s team updated and exchanged the Autodesk Revit models with contractors using an ftp server.
Table 5-1. Hershey Children’s Hospital facts.

Architect: Payette
Construction Manager: L. F. Driscoll
Delivery Method: CM @ Risk
Area: 263,000 square feet
Cost: $207 Million


The Hershey Children’s Hospital case study started in October 2011, almost two years after project construction start on December 2009. The initial phase of research for requirements analysis included preliminary interviews with the nurse project manager of the Children’s Hospital. Meetings with the nurse manager, who was representing end-user needs throughout the building lifecycle, helped establish goals and scope of using the EVPS for Children’s Hospital and setting up dates for focus group meetings.
Figure 5-3 shows the timeline of the case study.
The EVPS was developed from highly detailed BIM models supplied by the architect’s team. Interviews with the architect helped in understanding the design intent and program with floor-by-floor space layouts within the facility and the current state of BIM use on the project. Discussions included permission to use BIM for developing EVPS, information exchange protocols and details on how the facility was modeled. The majority of requirements capture was done during two focus group meetings that are discussed in detail in the next section.
A draft EVPS of a part of the Children’s Hospital was developed during December 2011 and January 2012 to give the participants an idea of what to expect. After requirements analysis, the next phase was EVPS design and development. Meetings during this phase helped clarify and validate the scenarios of use identified during requirements analysis. Development took place from March through August 2012 with the final models delivered to the nurse project manager on September 7, 2012. EVPS evaluation was done in two parts.
The first analysis was done with the pharmacy leadership team and staff members where they used the EVPS for move planning during the design review meeting between February and March 2012. The next part of evaluation was user studies in July 2012 to understand the effect of embedding scenarios in virtual prototypes, which is discussed in detail in Chapter 6.

Capture  Figure 5-3. Timeline for Hershey Children’s Hospital case study.


For initial requirements analysis for developing interactive virtual prototypes, focus groups were selected as a means for data collection.
Compared to one-to-one interviews, focus groups are more appropriate for the generation of new ideas formed within a social context (Breen 2006). Two focus group meeting were conducted over a span of two months.
The first meeting took place on December 09, 2011 and the second meeting took place on January 30, 2012.

5.3.1 First Focus Group – December 9, 2011

At the start of the first meeting, the researcher and facilitators welcomed participants, discussed the agenda and went through a round of introductions. The researcher presented a few slides outlining the background of the research project and outlined some goals for the meeting. Participants were shown two concept videos of the experience-based virtual prototypes; the first video showed scenarios of activities that can be performed in virtual prototypes and the second video showed the level of realism that can be achieved through use of lighting and textures. Focus groups were used to obtain data for identifying scenarios of tasks and spaces that need to be developed in the virtual prototype. Participants were split into groups of 4 to 5 so that they could discuss amongst themselves and provide feedback. Each mini group was required to discuss and work hands-on to help answer research questions.

5.3.2 Data Collection

Large 42” X 30” printouts of floor plans from levels 1-5 were used as artifacts during the focus group discussion along with the use of post-it notes to enable the participants to give feedback and answer the focus group questions. Questions asked during the meeting explored three broad themes (shown in Table 5-2) that focused on identifying and prioritizing the spaces, identifying and documenting scenarios and finally identifying modeling requirements for the development of the virtual prototypes. Table 5-2. List of questions asked during focus group 1.

Theme I. Identifying and Prioritizing Spaces
1.    What do you see as the primary purpose   of using the Experience-based Virtual prototyping System (EVPS) for your facility and why?
2.    Referencing the floor   plans of the new Children’s Hospital, identify the spaces of highest   priority that should be developed as interactive virtual prototypes using the EVPS. E.g.,   Pharmacy, Nurse’s station   to patient rooms, route between   Blood bank to OR
Theme II. Investigating and documenting scenarios
3.    What are the typical scenarios of activities that will take place within   each space/ zone identified?
4.    Identify typical routes   that will be taken by the staff in the hospital with the brief description of their purpose.
Theme III. Identifying design requirements for the EVPS
5.    What would be ideal level of detail that you would like in the virtual   prototypes? Especially with regard   to the following:
– Textures and colors   (highly realistic to abstract)
-Lighting (Highly realistic to absent)
– Interactive objects (E.g., doors that open, crash carts that move)
6.    Which of the following features would you like to see in the EVPS for a particular space:
– Minimap
– Scenario menu
– Avatars   (E.g., Nurses, Physicians, Facility managers, patients)
– Moveable objects (E.g., crash carts, wheelchairs, beds etc.)
7.    What additional features would you like to see in the EVPS?
8.    Is there any additional content that you would like modeled   in the facility?

Based on the questions asked, participants were instructed to note down their ideas and answers on post-it notes. The post-it notes were color-coded based on: end-users (blue), scenarios (green), tasks (yellow), spaces (pink) and objects or elements (purple) required for modeling the hospital. Participants reviewed different floor plans of the hospital where they marked spaces they considered important enough to be included in the EVPS and wrote them on post it notes (Figure 5-4). Similarly different colored post-it notes were used to get brief descriptions of scenarios, tasks and level of detail required.


Figure 5-4. Data Collection during Focus Group 1.

After collecting the post-it notes from participants (Figure 5-5), they were organized on a white board. Questions and clarifications helped reorganize and match different spaces of the hospital with certain scenarios of tasks. fig-5-5 Figure 5-5. Color-code post-it notes with end-user scenarios.

Detailed follow up discussion helped prioritize and further organize and group the scenarios. (Figure 5-6).
The goal of the first focus group meeting was to establish key areas to develop in the draft virtual prototype before final EVPS for the Children’s Hospital could be developed.
Figure 5-6.  Scenarios generated from 1st focus group meeting.
An area of the fourth floor was identified to be developed as a draft EVPS. Within this space (Figure 5-7), participants identified and prioritized the following areas to be highlighted:
  • Clinical Care Documentation Center – This area is centrally positioned to be in proximity with the maximum number of patient rooms and is used by nurses for documentation.
  • Patient Isolation Room with Dialysis – this room is chosen because it is used for patients with more complex conditions and because it has surgical boom equipment and an anteroom. The rationale to choose this room over others was to get nurses more familiar with one of the most complex rooms in the hospital.
  • Treatment Room – Although the entire second floor is dedicated to having operating rooms, it was decided to have one treatment room per department for patients that could be easily accessible and also appear to be a pain-free area for children being treated. The treatment room has an examination table and head wall for medical air, vacuum and gases.
  • Clean Supply Room – This room generally has storage of medical supplies and medication stored in shelves or automated dispensing cabinets like the “Pyxis” medication machines.
  • Medication Preparation Room – This room is used for distribution of medicine to the patients and is close to the nurse’s station. It contains a work counter for preparation of medication, refrigerator, sink for hand washing and locked storage cabinets for biological medication and drugs.
  • Soiled Utility Lab- This room is unique as it has the eye wash station and a laundry chute. It was deemed important to include this room in the EVPS so that nurses could  familiarize themselves with the work process and know how to locate the room.

FIG5-7 Figure 5-7. Spaces identified on the fourth floor for draft EVPS development.

Apart from a part of fourth floor with the above areas, the main pharmacy of the hospital located in the ground floor of the hospital was also identified as a space for possible inclusion in the draft EVPS.

5.3.3 Participants

There were 17 participants in the first focus group meeting and 20 participants in the second focus group out of which 12 participants attended both meetings.
Table 5-3 lists the participants of the focus group. Although all participants are connected to the Children’s  Hospital, they come from diverse departments such as Safety, Infection control, Patient Transportation and Administration.
There were three physicians, six nurse managers from various departments, three clinical head nurses, and two safety officers.
Other staff included clinical nurse educators, nursing administration, anesthetics, patient transport, infection control, pharmacy staff, child life manager and family centered care specialist.
Table 5-3. Participants of focus groups in December 2011 and January 2012.
Role Department Dec 11 Jan 12
Nursing Project Manager Children’s Hospital Support 1 1
Residency ProgramDirector Pediatrics 1
Residency AssistantProgram Director Pediatrics 1
Physician PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit)Senior resident 2
Director of Nursing Nursing Pediatrics 1 1
Operations Director Children’s Hospital Administration 1
Leadership team Pediatric Acute Care   and Hematology/ Oncology 2 3
Clinical Nurse Educator NEPD (Nursing Education and Professional Development) 1 1
Nurse Manager OR (Operating Room) 1
NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care   Unit) 1
PICU/ PIMCU (Pediatric Intensive/ Intermediate Care Unit) 1 1
Perianethesia (nursing for patients undergoing anesthesia) 1
Float Pool /Per Diem/   NVAT (Nursing Vascular Access Team) 1
Patient Transport 1 1
Clinical Head Nurse PICU/PIMCUPerianesthesia 1 2
Manager Child Life 1 1
Coordinator Family Services 1
Pharmacy staff Pharmacy 1 1
Senior Technologist Radiology 1 1
IC Coordinator Infection Control 1
Environment Health MgrFire protection Engineer Safety 1 1
17 20

During the second focus group meeting, draft EVPS of the Children’s Hospital with interactive virtual prototypes of the fourth floor with varying levels of detail and the pharmacy were distributed to the participants. The goal of this meeting was to enable the participants to experience first-hand and interact with the EVPS model and then brainstorm ideas and goals for the next iteration of development of the EVPS.

Besides going through the same exercise of using post-it notes from the first focus group meeting, the participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire.
The questionnaire asked the participants to fill in five questions on identifying a set of users, scenarios that they would perform, spaces that would be involved in the scenarios, detailed steps of tasks and finally level of detail of specific elements or features that would be required for the scenario.
The participants were also asked to state what they felt the overall purpose of the EVPS would be. The focus group questionnaire with detailed list of questions can be found in Appendix B. At the time, the Children’s Hospital project was in the third year of construction, had crossed the substantial completion milestone and was slated to open by January 2013.
The hospital staff was gearing up for transition planning to move from their current facilities into the new facility. At this stage of the project, most of the design decisions had already been taken as the project team had also used physical mockups patient rooms.

5.3.5 Potential Use of EVPS at Hershey Children’s Hospital

During focus groups discussions, participants envisioned using the EVPS for purposes of educating and providing a level of comfort for way finding to the entire hospital staff and possibly to patients and their families in the future. Apart from reviewing the design of the new facility, the hospital staff and project team envisioned using the EVPS in the transition process.

Participants felt that the EVPS could provide a snap shot of the new work environment and orientation of the pathways from the current facility to the new hospital thereby reducing the staff’s anxiety of moving and adapting their work processes into a new space.
They envisioned using the EVPS as a tool for training staff members or new hires to get acquainted with the building layout and use for locating life safety items and emergency evacuation drills. Another way the participants wanted to use the EVPS was to help develop new work processes and understand patient flow in the new facility layout.
Many example scenarios were discussed on how the workflow will be affected with larger distances and new locations for equipment. The participants also suggested using the EVPS as a “virtual tour” resource for patient’s families, caregivers and visitors to understand how to find specific services in the hospital. The goal was to develop interactive virtual prototypes of the chosen areas and use them for training during staff orientation at least 4-6 months before the move-in date.
Twenty-three total detailed scenarios were collected from the focus group studies. Using the scenario framework proposed in Chapter 4, first the scenarios were categorized based on the end-users, and then the scenarios were categorized based on the level of detail from the lowest of movement-based to detailed task-based.
The scenarios were mapped on a “type of scenario versus user” matrix. Finally, the scenarios were categorized based on the spaces they take place in to  help prioritize the model content required for development of the Children’s Hospital EVPS.
5.4.1 Scenarios based on End-Users

As a first step of requirements analysis, participants were asked to identify who they envisioned to be the ultimate end-users of the EVPS. End-users identified to use the Children’s Hospital EVPS application can be broadly classified into three categories of patients, families and staff. Table 5-4 shows a list of potential end-users identified for using the EVPS application.

Table 5-4. List of potential healthcare facility end-users who could use the EVPS. Healthcare Facility Users Patients Families. cHAPLEN

Within staff of the hospital, various categories were identified that included physicians, residents, surgical technologists and OR aides. Apart from majority of the staff, which is nursing, other staff included transport, anesthesia techs, and respiratory therapists. The nursing category was further divided into different type of nurses based on the specific duties they performed. While patients and their families were considered the most important potential users for the application, it was decided that based on the time requirements and knowing that this would be an internal pilot study, it was considered more appropriate to test the application with nurses. Content analysis using frequency of word count on the end-users of the twenty-three scenarios revealed the highest count for nurses (Figure 5-8). The next highest word frequency is for family followed by all staff. Other frequently occurring end-users are patients, transporters, physicians and pharmacy staff. Fig5-8 Figure 5-8. Users identified for scenarios during second focus group meeting.

After word frequency count of end-users, the scenarios were further analyzed to prioritize and organize them based on the context in which the end-users are mentioned.
Here again, it was noted that the maximum number of scenarios had sole or first mention of nurses followed by staff as end-users. Analysis revealed that there are specific detailed scenarios dealing with transport, pharmacy and OR staff along with some that included physicians, respiratory and radiology staff in second or third mention.
Although there was only one solely focused and one first mention scenario on patients and families, analysis revealed that most participants have patients and families as second mention end-users in their scenarios. This indicates that most of the scenarios that are developed for use of nurses and staff could also be tailored to and used by patients and families in the future.
Table 5-5 lists the end-users and indicates whether they were the sole, first, second or third mention as end-users in the twenty-three scenarios collected during the second focus group.
Table 5-5. End-users mentioned in scenarios collected during 2nd focus group meeting.
Sole mention First mention Second mention Third mention
Nursing staff 3 5 2
Staff 2 4 2
Transport staff 2 1 2
Pharmacy 2 1
Patients and   families 1 1 6
OR staff 1
Physicians 2 2
Respiratory I 2
Radiology 2
Other 3

Next the scenarios were categorized based on themes starting from types of scenarios, scale of scenarios and level of detail required to implement the scenarios.

5.4.2 Scenario Categories

The first theme of identifying and categorizing scenarios was based on the matrix developed in Chapter 4. The scenarios are mapped on the spectrum of varying levels of detail on x-axis against the end-users of scenarios identified on y-axis (Figure 5-9). Scenarios identified are classified based on way finding or movement-based, process-based (combination of way finding and set of less detailed tasks), spatial organization and finally detailed task-based scenarios.         Figure 5-9. Mapping scenarios based on category and users.

A lot of examples were categorized under way finding such that people needed to get from one place to the other in the new hospital and want to know the optimum routes to take to get from one place to another.
Some of the examples of getting from one place to another include going from the pharmacy, blood bank and radiology labs in the ground floor to the operating rooms in the second floor. Overall way finding related scenarios were concerned with locations of rooms and getting from rooms to the public services in the building like the cafeteria, courtyard and meditation room. As expected most of the scenarios that fell under the movement-based or way finding scenario category required less detailed models.
An important scenario proposed by participants from hospital safety was regarding “Fire emergency training” that envisions use of EVPS by all staff for location of emergency items fire extinguishers, exit signs and location of fire escape routes and staircases. Other healthcare emergency training related scenarios include location of gas shut off valves; crash carts and nurse alarm locations that are deemed important during patient emergencies.
On the task-based scenario spectrum, some important detailed scenarios identified include the “Code Blue”, an emergency scenario in hospitals. This scenario requires extremely high level of modeling and detail to show if multiple avatars of different specialties can fit in a patient room during heart failures and simulate activities that need to be performed in that situation such as alerting. The researchers identified that the scenario was out of scope for development as it would be very time and labor resource-intensive.

5.4.3 Scenarios based on Spaces

The next analysis of scenarios was done based on word frequency of spaces mentioned by participants in the scenarios (Figure 5-10). As most scenarios are concerned with way finding, pathways, hallways and elevators were in large numbers.





1 4 5 12


Nurse’s station 10
Charting area 3
Medication room/ supplies 6
Cleaned utility/ med pyxis room 4
Soiled utility 3
Code cart 1
Leadership offices 3
Storage – linen 2


Pathways/ hallways 10


Emergency areas 4
Radiology 6
Blood bank 2
Pharmacy 7
Patient room 8
Isolation room 3
Anteroom 1
Treatment Room 3
Family waiting 4
Play room 2
Restroom 4
Staff lounge/ Breakroom 6
Resident lounge 1




Acute care 1
Oncology 1
Main lobby 2



fig5-10 Figure 5-10. Spaces identified for EVPS development.

  However, as shown in Figure 5-10, the most important and recurring spaces according to the participants were the operating rooms located on the second floor of the hospital. Most routes for way finding identified include going from the existing or main hospital as well as other parts of hospital especially ground floor to the second floor. Other routes of importance identified were within the second floor itself that houses the operating and treatment rooms. Participants were interested in knowing routes of getting from the pre-operating areas (pre-op) to the operating rooms and finally to the post anesthesia care units (PACU).
Another floor recognized for its importance based on discussions and the word frequency count was the ground floor as it houses the blood bank, radiology labs and treatment spaces as well as the main pharmacy of the hospital. Even though all these spaces also had specific scenarios with specialty end-users, all staff especially nursing was required to know their location and the way to get to the ground floor from all patient floors and treatment areas.
Certain scenarios assigned both the third floor and fourth floor that have patient rooms within different departments of hematology, oncology, PICU and PIMCU to be modeled. However, an overwhelmingly large number of scenarios recognize nursing stations, charting areas, medication supplies, utilities, storage and other staff areas as an essential part of the EVPS, thereby including the patient floors themselves to be modeled.
Apart from the spaces listed above, all patient rooms or isolation patient rooms with anterooms along with specialty treatment rooms within the third and fourth patient floors are also mentioned in the scenarios.
Other spaces mentioned in certain scenarios focused on family and staff as end-users included family waiting areas, children’s play rooms, child life areas, staff lounges and break rooms etc. The first floor, which houses the main lobby, some cancer treatment and infusion labs as well as the cafeteria was not specifically mentioned in any scenario. The fifth floor that has mechanical equipment and services was also not mentioned; therefore it was decided not to model the first and fifth floor of the hospital at all.


5.4.4 Validation of Scenarios

arms, booms and operating tables are required and curtains in PACU as they are not in the Revit model. Similarly, computer stations for nurses provided outside the patient rooms to enable nurses to chart and monitor the patients in the room are required. Lastly Pyxis machines in medication and supply rooms were also identified. fig5-11 Figure 5-11. Spaces identified for development in Second Floor and Ground Floor.


Based on the requirements analysis done on the data collected through focus groups and interviews, a list of features was developed and storyboarding was used to develop concepts for the EVPS. Although many more interactivity features could be added the scope was restricted based on the envisioned end goal of the prototype as well as the time and resources available to develop it.

Since the project was in construction phase, the Revit model used for the development of the virtual prototype was highly detailed. Based on the requirements, it was ensured that only the required architectural elements are included in the model. Some furniture and equipment model content not included in the model was added. Missing model content comprised of patient beds in all patient rooms, examination and operating tables in the treatment rooms and ORs. Other model content added included pyxis machines, booms, chairs for nursing and charting stations and other equipment identified during requirements analysis.

5.4.2 Level of realism

Due to the size of the models and the focus on way finding scenarios, the level of realism in textures required was relatively low in the virtual prototypes. However care was taken to incorporate the color schemes of the flooring, which was one of the main design features of the Hershey Children’s Hospital and used as an aid to way finding by the architects. Some of the important equipment identified in requirements analysis were colored red for easy identification in the virtual prototype. These included fire extinguishers, elevators, and pneumatic tube stations for blood or medication transport near the nurse’s station.

5.4.3 User Interface

End-users were provided with options to go to the main menu, select another floor to navigate in, get instructions on how to navigate the model, turn the mini-map on or off, and select a space / department within the floor to navigate in, or quit the application. On quitting the application, the Hershey Children’s Hospital web page opened in the user’s browser.

The storyboards helped design the menu of the Children’s Hospital EVPS. The opening screen of the EVPS was designed to show a rendering of the hospital and give options to the user to select the floor that they wished to navigate. The hospital was broken down into the four floors for EVPS development- Ground Floor, Second Floor, Third Floor and Fourth Floor. On selecting any of the floors, the user was shown another screen with a schematic plan of the floor depicting locations of major areas or departments on that floor. Figure 5-12 shows a snapshot of the menu developed for the Second Floor EVPS. The user could then select any space and start navigating the interactive 3D virtual prototype of that floor.

Figure 5-12. Second Floor schematic plan used in the menu for EVPS. Mini-map

The mini-map was considered an essential element in the prototypes, as the main goal was to use the model for way finding purposes (Figure 5-13). A red arrow head was added in the controller object hierarchy that was visible in the mini-map indicating and updating in real-time, the location of the user and direction of where they are heading within the facility.

5.4.4 Interactive Objects

The developed EVPS enabled users to retrieve information such as names of different equipment throughout the hospital floors by clicking on the objects. Also similar to hospital hallways with motion sensor activated doors, the prototype simulated doors to swing open using triggers and animated door objects. Figure 5-13 shows the Unity game engine interface during EVPS development. fig5-13 Figure 5-13. Space trigger objects and mini-map camera in the second floor EVPS.

Trigger objects were placed in various departments or areas of interest throughout the hospital floors such that while navigating, when the user entered specific spaces, text was displayed on the screen to indicate the name and other information on the space entered. Another interactive feature included buttons on the user interface that allows the user to click on the names of certain spaces. Once selected the controller object instantiates in that space allowing the user to begin navigation from there.

5.4.5 Challenges in Development

Polytrans was used to further optimize the model content before transferring it to Unity game engine. It was decided to split the different floors and develop them as separate Unity projects to ensure smoother visualization. However, some of the interactive objects such as clicking on6. Type and number of doors in the second floor of the hospital.


Type Count
Door Double Wrap   Double Opposing Type G  84″ x 84″ 1


Door Double Wrap   Double Opposing Type V  84″ x 84″ 1


Door Double Wrap   Type F 4


48″ x 84″ 1


56″ x 84″ 1


60″ x 84″ 1


84″ x 84″ 1


Door Double Wrap   Type G   84″ x 84″ 1


Door Double Wrap Type   V 2


72″ x 84″ 1


84″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Double Acting   Type F 36″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Double Acting   Type G 36″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Side Light Type FG        36″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Type F 3


36″ x 84″ 1


42″ x 84″ 1


48″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Type FV 2


36″ x 84″ 1


42″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Type G 2


36″ x 84″ 1


48″ x 84″ 1


Door Single Wrap Type V 3


36″ x 84″ 1


42″ x 84″ 1


48″ x 84″ 1


Door Uneven Wrap Rev Type F 48″ (12 x 36) x 84″ 1


Door Uneven Wrap Type   S 66″ (18 x 48) x 84″ 1


Cased Opening Wrap   36″ x 84″ 1


Overhead rolling   11′ x 21′ 1


Grand Total 26 130

The door object appears as a single object including the frame in the Unity game engine.   Using either 3ds max or Revit, each door was split into separate frame and door panel objects; animation was applied to the door panel based on if the swing was clockwise or anticlockwise and a door trigger object was applied. Finally the door was taken to the desired location. There were many approaches to do this and prefabs in Unity enabled efficient and repeatable use of multiple doors once they were animated. Other interactive objects that were not implemented included arrows depicting the route to get from point A to B within a hospital floor. The draft virtual prototype fourth floor showed a scenario where the user could click on a specific space they would like to go to and the user interface displayed arrows depicting the route to take. However, in the full hospital floor virtual prototype implementation, there were far too many route options that could not be covered using this approach. An alternate method of clicking the name of the space and instantiating the controller object in that location was adopted instead.


As per the plans of the Children’s Hospital, the main pharmacy serving the entire  Hershey Medical Center was being relocated in the ground floor where all the pharmacy staff would be consolidated. The footprint of the pharmacy would increase substantially to 7200 square feet area, which was almost double the size of present pharmacy. With the increase in size,  offices of the pharmacy staff would be in closer proximity as well. For transition planning, it was important for the staff to understand how they would adapt to a newer and larger space by configuring their workspaces and developing their work processes to be in alignment with the  new facility design. Figure 5-14 shows images of the existing and new pharmacy. Figure 5-15 shows the location of the new pharmacy. fig5-14Figure 5-14.  Existing pharmacy (left) moving into the new pharmacy (right).

Compared to the entire staff of the Children’s Hospital, the pharmacy had a relatively small leadership team and staff comprising of up to 130 members.

After the first focus group meeting, the participants distributed the interactive virtual prototypes of the pharmacy for other staff members to view (Figure 5-16).

The pharmacy staff was able to familiarize themselves with the new layout using the EVPS pharmacy model for transition planning. fig5-15 Figure 5-15. Pharmacy floor plan and snapshot of pharmacy EVPS.

The new pharmacy, located in the ground floor level of the Children’s Hospital wing, is accessible from the cancer institute and the main hospital building through interconnected pathways.
On entering the pharmacy, the main door and dispensing window open into the central pharmacy area with a compounding station tucked in the right. The narcotics and secure storage room is located across the compounding area and has a door with restricted access. The central pharmacy has the major equipment and computers on workstations for staff (Figure 5-16).
On the far left of the pharmacy, there is space for break room that leads to three rooms – the inventory personnel room with work stations against the walls, a billing room and a room for trash. Both the inventory personnel and trash room can also be accessed from outside corridors.
On the opposite end of the central pharmacy area is the entrance to the intravenous (IV) prep room that is used for storing intravenous medicine. The IV room leads to an anteroom, which is connected to two highly sensitive medicine positive pressure rooms – the chemo/ hazard prep area and the clean room. There are two additional rooms that are only accessed from the outside corridors – the first is an investigational drug service (IDS) room that has adjoining refrigeration room along with file storage room and the second is a Pyxis office/ workroom.
  Figure 5-16. Snapshot of pharmacy EVPS.


5.5.1 Design Review Meetings

Two separate meetings were held with the pharmacy leadership team to discuss the scope of using the pharmacy EVPS for their transitional planning efforts. The researcher also attended and observed a design review meeting where 10 pharmacy leadership team members explored the EVPS model of the pharmacy (figure 5-17). The model was used to design the inner layout focusing on configuration and orientation of working spaces as well as detailed design decisions on storage shelves to plan and decide on future storage organization of the pharmacy inventory.

Figure 5-17. Design Review meeting using the Pharmacy model.
During the meeting, the IV room was discussed in detail and one of the pharmacy staff members who had attended the focus group meeting led the discussions and also navigated the model.
The discussion in the IV room began with accessing the number of refrigerators and freezers that would be required in the room. The team decided to have a total of 5 refrigerators and 4 freezers making it a total of 9 pieces of equipment. It was noted that the plan did not clearly show the doors of the refrigerators.
The team also discussed having double doors on certain refrigerators. In conjunction with the using pharmacy’s EVPS, the team numbered each section of shelving or workspace on the plan. Navigating through the IV prep room, the team had a general   discussion on the type of shelving- open, closed or with slanted shelves that will be required in each area. After numbering the sections, each area was discussed in detail (Figure 5-18).
The team discussed the intended purpose of each workstation and which technician would be allotted a particular space to work in. The team also discussed addition of cabinets where they thought they needed printers.
Figure 5-18. Transition Planning and design review meeting using EVPS and floor plans.
On entering the clean room, the team identified different equipment in the room and clarified issues if it was hard to identify what equipment was as in the case of a laundry basket. With so much equipment in the room, some team members raised concerns on the size of both the anteroom and clean room.
However some team members who had visited the actual pharmacy  that was then under construction and going through fit-outs reassured that the anteroom was sufficiently sized– measuring the distance between tables and hoods to ensure that there was adequate carts  depicted in the prototype were also taken into consideration for storage planning of syringes and needles.
Another concern raised in the clean room was a row of tall shelves for storage. Several team members expressed concern on accessibility of the upper shelves and requirement of step stools that could be a potential safety hazard (Figure 5-19).
Figure 5-19. Snapshot of IV Preparation and Clean Room with high shelves.
5.5.2 Findings

In conclusion, the staff was really relieved to be able to use an interactive virtual prototype of the pharmacy to identify workspaces and begin developing new work procedures. They felt that the EVPS was easy to navigate and had been using the prototype in internal meetings regularly. Although they had access to the actual pharmacy space under construction and staff was shown plenty of photographs and videos of the space, they still preferred the pharmacy prototype.

“It is easier to control where you are going and stop when you have to look at something. You cannot even do that in a video where you just follow along where the camera goes” In previous staff meetings, it was found that the pharmacy virtual prototype actually helped the staff identify that they would require a mini refrigerator in the compounding area.

This requirement was overlooked in plans and previous design review meetings and had not come to light till the staff had started using the EVPS for reviewing the design. Some of the drawbacks of the pharmacy prototype were inaccuracies in the modeling of shelves and other storage cabinets. It was found that some cabinets were missing entirely or had the wrong type of shelving depicted; e.g., closed shelving instead of open or slanted shelves instead of straight. The reason for this was that the changes had been made after the update of the model that was used to develop the prototype.

As the next step for using the EVPS for transition planning, the pharmacy staff wanted to have labels on different workspaces and shelves to depict what they were going to be used for. Another thing that would have been nice to see was whether drawers and storage was open-able or closed to be able to better plan for the move.

As a future consideration, the staff expressed that it would be nice to be able to simulate certain processes that take place in the pharmacy as that could be used to train new personnel on work procedures as well as help the leadership team design more efficient processes that would work in a new facility design.


scale healthcare facilities within limited resources.

Dealing with Large-scale Models: Some of the challenges that arose with the use of large-scale models in the Unity game engine (ranging from 814 MB to 1.55 GB) for real- time visualization was to maintain minimal lag time and smooth performance during visualization. It is important to ascertain the level of detail of the model content available for developing the interactive virtual prototypes and determine if more detail and content is required or if unnecessary detail and model content needs to be eliminated to make the geometric content lighter and leaner. Finally it is of utmost importance to align the resources available to develop the EVPS with the proposed virtual prototyping scope. –

Defining Scope: Focus groups proved to be an effective means to elicit requirements for the development of EVPS. Brainstorming during the focus groups helped in generating innovative ideas on the future use of the EVPS. However, it is very important to define the scope for development and continuously review this scope throughout the design and development process while identifying the resources that can be invested. Feedback from the end-users during development ensures that the process is on track and that the EVPS will meet the ultimate goals of their design review. –

Identifying Stakeholders: It is also essential to ensure that the participants for the focus group represent a mix of department so that they can represent their unique needs. It was observed that the scenarios generated during focus groups strongly reflected the departments, roles and responsibilities of the participants involved. –

EVPS Application in Training: Although this research envisioned use of EVPS for design review with the end-users of facilities during the design development phase prior to construction, this case study demonstrates that real-time visualization using interactive virtual prototypes of healthcare facilities can be used at any stage of the facility lifecycle  for design review.

Moreover, this case study also shows that apart from design review, EVPS can be very effectively used as an education tool for training, way finding and reducing the anxiety of end-users before moving into a new facility. Additionally, the EVPS can be used to design activities and working procedure around the new facility design as in the case of the pharmacy where the staff used the EVPS to determine their future workflows.

In conclusion, this case study demonstrates that the EVPS can be used effectively for collaborative design reviews and decision-making as exhibited during the pharmacy transition and move planning design review meetings. Interactive virtual prototypes of the pharmacy became an instrumental tool for pharmacy staff to seek clarifications in design and led to a better understanding of the new space.

Moreover, the pharmacy leadership team was able to leverage the EVPS as a tool to develop new work procedures that would be more befitting in the new facility environment. This unique application of the EVPS revealed added potential benefits of developing interactive virtual prototypes for healthcare facilities.


This chapter begins with the description of the case of the Hershey Children’s Hospital and discusses the approach for research, data collection, analysis and development procedure for EVPS application. The pharmacy transition-planning meeting is discussed as part of the evaluation of using the interactive virtual prototypes for design review. Findings of this chapter suggest that even with large-scale healthcare facility models, EVPS can be developed and applied effectively. The next chapter discusses the evaluation of embedding scenarios in interactive virtual prototypes in more detail. ++++ Copyright 2013 by Sonali Kumar. All rights reserved. Thesis published on this site by the express permission of Sonali Kumar. Note: Under construction link to Chapter 6. ++++ Copyright 2014 by Sonali Kumar. All rights reserved. Thesis published on this site by the express permission of Sonali Kumar.