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A lot has changed in our world since the year 2020, and it looks like things will continue to change, with the potential to drastically improve, as we move forward. Particularly in healthcare, we’re seeing innovations and improvements in several areas as people work to make spaces more comfortable, safer, and more accessible for those in need. Healthcare design is changing in some major ways, especially in three main healthcare areas that have started to transform.

Image: Van Wert Health Surgery and Inpatient Expansion

 

A Focus on Outpatient Facilities

More people are seeking care than ever before, and hospitals are starting to refocus their resources in the system to becoming more specified on low-acuity care. “For hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgery centers, patient volume is expected to increase by 15 million visits by 2029; over the same period, hospital emergency departments will see 5 million fewer patients.” (Gensler, 2022).

The pandemic also affected patient trust in their healthcare providers, causing many health organizations to pivot their patient engagement on establishing trust and loyalty with their patients. “A waning trust among Americans in their healthcare is contributing to a sense that personal changes should be made: about half of outpatient consumers say they would make a change to their healthcare” (Gensler Research Institute, 2021). So, not only is there a rise in outpatient facilities in general, but the quality and efficiency of these facilities are being vastly improved. From the moment a patient sets foot in the parking lot of an outpatient care facility, their healthcare experience is being impacted. Gensler Research Institute states that “over one-third of the variance in positive feelings during the visit can be explained by the impressions of the exterior and exam room quality.” (Gensler Research Institute, 2021). Design Collaborative realizes how important good branding and quality design can affect both patient and staff experience, leaving them with positive feelings and a stronger sense of loyalty to their healthcare organization. How do we do this? With our unique design process, we have time dedicated to listening to each client carefully to learn what best fits their needs and desires. With this, we are better able to serve the growing need for outpatient facilities that are flexible, innovative, and can provide the best care possible.

Image: Alliance Health Lafayette Medical Center

Healthcare Design
Healthcare Design
Healthcare Design

Behavioral Health Focus

A very specific aspect of healthcare that was directly impacted by the pandemic has really come to the forefront – behavioral health care. Mental health has been a growing problem in the past several years, and an increased need for mental health care accelerated in the past two years. This has caused healthcare organizations to re-evaluate their facilities and how they care for patients with this growing need.

Behavioral health design is incredibly complex. From the overall aesthetic of the space to stringent code detail, there are lots of needs to be considered. Because of a growing national need for locations, there is an opportunity for designers to re-envision the “look and feel” of these facilities, spaces that were traditionally overlooked and have potential to be more welcoming. If any mode of healthcare treatment requires the “front door” interface with the patient to be welcoming and demonstrate the perception of “safety”, it is this mode of healthcare that requires this, detrimentally. According to Healthcare Facilities Today, these “home-inspired furnishings and softer fabric selections with intricate patterns provide a welcome sense of comfort and relief to anxious patients.” (Healthcare Facilities Today, 2022). There are also very specific requirements for behavioral health spaces to ensure safe and effective care environments. Down to each corner of every fixture in the space, every element is taken into account to make sure the space is safe for those in need of care. It is a comfort to know that behavioral health design is being greatly improved and will continue to get better and better.

Image: Alliance Health Lafayette Medical Center

Healthcare Design

Telehealth & Technology

“In the U.S., eight out of ten internet users have searched for health information online. That means the first brand touchpoint is often virtual: the healthcare experience begins well before the consumer enters the waiting room.” Gensler Research Institute, 2021). Telehealth was something that became necessary during the pandemic and is now a convenience many people are realizing they prefer. With this in mind, it is important for healthcare designers to take into consideration the comfortability and feel of offices where health professionals conduct virtual appointments. Health professionals who are spending less time interacting in person with patients need spaces that have all of the technology that they need to continue their practice, as well as spaces that encourage their health and well-being. Not interfacing physically with patients can be a complete overhaul for the way physicians administer treatment, so these new spaces require an attuned level of detail pertaining not only to comfort, but also acoustics, I.T. requirements, and flexibility.

Telehealth Healthcare Design
Telehealth Healthcare Design

“Looking forward, these advancements in healthcare design will ultimately bring comfort and hope to patients, families and valuable workers.” (Healthcare Facilities Today, 2022). Part of Design Collaborative’s Healthcare Value Proposition says, “We’re collaborators in care. We’re focused on your care team—and improving patient experience and outcomes. We put our hearts into our work, just like you.” By putting our hearts into our work, we hope to continue improving healthcare design so that there’s a better, safer future for everyone.

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