Over the years, while commercial space design has kept up with changing trends and emerging innovations, a segment that continues to remain the same, is healthcare architecture design. The current design of hospitals doesn’t accommodate emerging technologies and processes, and hence, the cost of renovation is considerable.
With concerns about climate change prompting re-evaluation of current construction frameworks, healthcare architecture too, will move towards sustainable building design. Patient centric design, will be the norm in the future. Factors including addition of latest diagnostic tools, changing treatment patterns, higher patient load and other aspects will also play a major role in building design. This will not only positively impact patient health, but also reduce fatigue among hospital staff, thus improving productivity. Streamlining processes and treatments will ensure reduced hospital stay, and in turn reduce utility consumption.
Here’s a look at the essential features to be considered, when planning healthcare facilities of the future –
It is essential to create spaces for current medical processes and tools that could be repurposed for innovations that could emerge 5 to 10 years in the future. Creating solutions that will provide the best financial outcome for the institution includes making every component of the healthcare facility flexible. For example, making individual treatment rooms versatile so as to be able to feature various technologies, creating a structural system that can shift to new design with minimum renovation required, etc.
Healthcare building design will increasingly be driven by technology and information infrastructure. With robotic science providing better surgical and treatment outcomes and technological advanced investigation tools helping medical practitioners perfect the art of diagnosis, it has become more important than ever to shape healthcare systems and design around technology.
Higher outpatient care capacity
In the time to come, hospitals will see a greater influx of outpatients. Increasing outpatient care department capacity while retaining efficient processes will be one of the major challenges of healthcare facilities of the future. Another design hurdle would be making the outpatient facility flexible for future innovation that will be added throughout a hospital’s lifespan; without compromising on business model efficiency.
Wearable hospital & Telemedicine
Remote monitoring of patients through wearable devices and assimilation of Telemedicine into the hospital infrastructure will help reduce the volume of physical visits and hospitalization. Better patient tracking and reception added to more capable transportation system will create new systems of outpatient care that will establish faster, more effective treatment mechanism.
A few examples of new age healthcare design include:
Fifth XiangYa Hospital in Changsha, China
Conceptualized with the idea of delivering medical care efficiently on a massive scale while providing easy cues to navigating the immense facility, the XiangYa Hospital design is developed as a nested network of systems. Its conceived as a set of elements that are interdependent though each is clearly differentiated and expresses its function independently. With clear levels separating the outpatient clinic, material management and logistics services and inpatient wards, the design has ensured patient experience is devoid of cart and staff traffic. All the differentiated elements are unified through nature that is embedded in the hospital topography and provides a soothing setting for healing.
Klinikum Neuperlach, Germany
Renovated from an older design, the hospital reimagined its whole setting to create a more welcoming and healing environment through the use of natural lighting and ventilation. The most important design change was the construction of an air space at the centre of the building. The design helps circulate air throughout the corridors of all levels of the building creating a warm atmosphere and providing sufficient ambient light to reduce energy consumption.
The future of healthcare design holds great promise, where smart design decisions create an environment that merges patient needs, evolving digital technologies and sustainable practices. A strong healthcare design will directly impact the efficiency of a hospital’s processes and infrastructure and promote a healthier, happier patient experience.