Large-scale healthcare projects, from new projects to renovations, face a challenging future. After the tedious process of securing permits and getting approved plans and even issuing press releases, many of these ambitious projects stall due to financial pressures. Increasingly, healthcare systems may hit the pause button as they take a closer look at cost-benefits, with emphases on expanding market share and reducing cost of care. In today's post, we will look at how a healthcare project can help achieve both goals by focusing on proven infection prevention infrastructure.
Few architects have the vantage point brought by a career in healthcare spanning 4 decades. Professional leaders with this kind of experience, in addition to thoughtful reflection, give us a priceless perspective on where we have been, where our past has brought us today, and what our options are for tomorrow. One such leader is Sheila Cahnman, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, a healthcare architect who recently shared her thoughts on innovation in healthcare design, both in a published article and a follow-up interview. In today's post, we'll explore how this architect sees the field of healthcare design, a field where when it comes to innovation, we reap what we sow.
In a previous posts, we explored the idea of evidence-based design, the place where science and aesthetics join forces to help patients and healthcare professionals. Today's post highlights one of today's hybrid designers who is paving the way towards the hospital room of the future, Megan Kalina. This Medical Planner's ideas come to life in life-saving healthcare facilities around the country.
Physicians and other healthcare workers take an oath - whether literally or simply by taking up a profession in medicine - to "first, do no harm" to their patients. It's just taken for granted that anyone entrusted with the health of another individual has the overarching duty to not do additional harm to a patient. But what about the professionals responsible for building the spaces where these patients receive care? What are some steps they can take to ensure that the buildings they design "first, do no harm?" In today's post, we'll explore some key design choices that can make healthcare facilities healthier places to heal.
Evidence-based design became a focus of study in the 1980s. This movement paired design choices with structured, formal scientific research. Rather than relying on anecdotal evidence of design choices, researchers systematically tracked data on patient outcomes. One study, for example, was able to demonstrate a reduction in the use of pain medications by patients in rooms with a view towards nature.
Evidence-based design can focus on various aspects of hospital function. Decisions about design are influenced by what we know about human psychology and stress, medical treatments, infection control, financial considerations, efficiency, and human movement/traffic flow. Ultimately, the goal of evidence-based design is to improve patient outcomes, safety, and administration.
In last week's post, we explored the overlap between architectural principles in the AIA's Framework for Design Excellence. Today, we will look at the foundational components of architectural design and how they overlap with designing with infection control in mind.
Each year, thousands of buildings, including many healthcare facilities, are entered into architecture award programs, hoping to be recognized as the best the field has to offer. These entries are judged according to the accepted standards of modern architecture, which go beyond simple form and function. Healthcare facilities must not only meet these architectural standards, but dozens of regulatory standards along with many unique constraints in order to meet the needs of their target populations. In today's post, we'll look at how healthcare architects who include infection prevention in their planning help their projects align with the highest standards of their industry.
In a previous post, we discovered the many entities that regulate the physical operation of a healthcare facility. Who is responsible for making sure that the building meets many of these regulations? It's the team of architects who design not just the aesthetics of the building, but the way the space will meet the needs of patients and staff. In today's post, we'll look closer at what it takes to become a part of that team of healthcare architects.