Airports have a lot in common with healthcare delivery organizations in terms of needing to accommodate wide variations in volumes, in people’s needs, and the flow of people through the facility. However, just as in healthcare IT, over-regulation and subsequent design can potentially complicate and impede progress.
For example, water fountains pose one of the occupational hazards I face as I pass through dozens of airports during the course of a year. Last week, I noticed what is shown in the picture below: a restroom entrance that was designed to be large enough for two travelers to pass one another while towing their carryon bags, but is nonetheless partially blocked by the placement of a water fountain.
It would be reasonable to presume the water fountain, developed to be handicapped-accessible, was an afterthought relative to higher level design. It was probably required under the Americans with Disabilities Act, although not necessarily where it’s located. This is a particularly poor design fixture in light of the increasing number of travelers who have turned to using rolling carry-on bags, the kind too big to fit under an airline seat.