Building an Apple-style hospital

March 7, 2012: 5:00 AM ET

FORTUNE -- Is "customer experience" as relevant to health care as it is to shopping? Ron Johnson thinks so. A trustee at Stanford, his alma mater, he was influential in conceiving a new building, to be completed in 2018, for Stanford University Medical Center. The goal: creating a comfortable, humane experience rather than a faceless, cold environment. Johnson argued that the building needed a new type of "interface." Like an Apple (AAPL) product, it should be simple on the outside, with the complex technology hidden away. In this case, that meant "separating the science from the humanity." So the new building, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly, will consolidate much of the science on one floor. Visitors will enter on a different floor, with some Apple-style design features -- a light-filled atrium and marble floors -- and then proceed to a floor built around a garden, with four residential pods for patients and space to socialize or meditate. "Ron has helped drive the focus on the patient," says Amir Dan Rubin, Stanford Hospital & Clinics' CEO, "and the design of a facility that is a combination of humanity and science."
--Jennifer Reingold

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