NBBJ helped the new Swedish Orthopedic Institute streamline operational flow, increase on-time starts by 30%, and reduce patient stays by 25%, all in a space that embraces light and speeds healing.

This new institute sought to build a patient-focused orthopedic hospital that integrated services into a single location, including physician’s offices, patient education, surgery and physical therapy. Insights gained from Continuous Process Improvement workshops led to optimized throughput across the entire institute and especially for the surgical suites.

Discovery, Treatment and Recovery

The new building is designed to optimize efficiency and patient care. The clinical levels are organized around the three phases of healing: Discovery, Treatment and Recovery. These three care levels are augmented by a group of private practice orthopedic specialists who lease offices on Levels 6-7, a dedicated sterile processing department and materials management center and four levels of underground parking, making this the first fully integrated orthopedic facility in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the largest in the country. A pedestrian bridge and tunnel connect the orthopedic facility to the main hospital, taking advantage of shared resources such as food service, materials management, maintenance, and security.

Design decisions that made shared spaces more efficient and shortened travel distances led to increased operational flow, with an 8% jump in productivity and the ability to service 30-40% more patients. Previously, a typical orthopedic procedure moved a patient to as many as six different locations: admitting, pre-op, surgery, recovery and rehab, causing patients to report a loss of control and an inability to relax. Having all needed procedures in one consistent, easy-to-navigate space that has a constant transparent connection with the outdoors reduces stress as patients pass through the process seamlessly.

Safety and Efficiency
Safety and Efficiency
Safety and Efficiency
Safety and Efficiency
Safety and Efficiency



day less


on time

Awards and Publications


Modern Healthcare, Award of Excellence, 2010
AIA Seattle, Honor Award IIDA Northern Pacific Chapter, Best in Healthcare Award
Healthcare Design, Merit Award


Interior Design magazine, “A Healthy Dose of Design,” February 2009
Health Facilities Management magazine, "Naturally Transparent," September 2009
Healthcare Design, Architectural Showcase, September 2009