With the completion of Phase 2 of its $66.4-million expansion project, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital became the fifth-largest independent rehabilitation hospital in the U.S. But it’s not just the square footage of the new building that makes Mary Free Bed one of the top destinations for rehab patients — the inside is just as important.

For four years, Enviah, a Grand Rapids-based health care design and consulting firm, worked with Mary Free Bed on the project to optimize the space for healing using evidence-based transformative design. Enviah President Lorissa MacAllister said that process involved looking at how best to incorporate operational improvements and transform the cultural environment of the new facility; the features include a more welcoming lobby area and an entire second floor designed to improve staff communication.

MacAllister said the trend toward transformative health care design is relatively new, really ramping up with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, as well as the shift toward keeping medical records on file electronically.

“Hospitals and the health care system itself is under a full overhaul — there’s probably no other industry in our time that we’ve seen so structurally changing,” MacAllister said. “It’s a shift in how hospitals are being paid, not from volume of patients but more tuned to the patient experience and their (treatment) outcomes.”

To read the rest of the story, pick up this week's paper or visit the Grand Rapids Business Journal's website.