Healthcare design has been around for years, but there’s no doubt it is a hot topic at this very moment. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the rise of technology, and the expectation that wellness is imperative in the workplace, healthcare design is decidedly important now more than ever. We sat down with our very own Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, to see what the healthcare design forecast for 2016 – and beyond – looks like.
Once upon a time, pediatric hospitals were sterile, isolated places. Today, with centers like the Ronald McDonald House, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are realizing that they’re not caring for just the patient—they’re caring for the patient’s entire family.
Creating a healthcare space that fosters community was evident in the 2015 IIDA Global Excellence Awards healthcare category winner, the Sayanomoto Clinic in Saga, Japan, by the design firm, Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop. The clinic, designed for patients with dementia, houses a “learning” space in the common areas so patients can spend time with their families.
“Healthcare is not just a single entity issue,” said Durst. “When someone is ill it happens to an entire family. That’s, to me, emotional intelligence. That is really employing the softer side of design that designers do best. It’s paying attention to the human being. So, the community aspect, the whole person, the whole being, the whole family is one.”
Technology vs. Humanity
Say what you will about technology, you luddites out there, there’s no denying it has improved healthcare in ways we never thought imaginable. Electronic health records, self-service kiosks, wearable medical devices, and telemedicine have made formerly cumbersome systems more efficient and increased access to care for the most vulnerable.
But how do we balance tech with humanity? For Durst, this one hits close to home. A couple of years ago before her mother passed away from cancer, Durst accompanied her on a hospital visit only to notice that the nurse who was taking her mother’s vitals never once made eye contact; the nurse was occupied with her laptop and iPad mini. “All the ways that technology would be improving healthcare – leaps and bounds – but from a personal concern, is that making healthcare less human and less humane?” said Durst. “That’s my other big thing about design — design is about dignity. Healthcare should be about dignity as well.”
Taking Over Retail
If you don’t know that there’s a Nordstrom’s that provides mammogram screenings. Now you know. Located at the Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, Illinois, patients can decide they want to shop for a couple of hours, walk in for a screening, and get their results within the same day. The convenience, ease, and comfort of getting a mammogram while shopping is in stark contrast to the clinical setting that intimidates many women from making that yearly appointment. But what if we took that one step further? “What if all of a sudden I can go to Costco, or the Dollar Store, or Wal-Mart and get a mammogram?” asked Durst. “If all of a sudden it’s as easy as going to CVS then it becomes different, and that’s design.”
Where in the World is Cheryl?
Durst will be at Design Connections Healthcare 2016 on Feb. 23 to moderate a discussion about wearables and telemedicine with panelists Alan Dash, Senior Consultant, The Sextant Group; Jocelyn Stroupe, IIDA, ASID, CHID, EDAC, Director of Healthcare Interiors, Cannon Design; and Jane Rohde, FIIDA, AIA, ACHA, AAHID, Principal, JSR Associates.
Image: Sayanomoto Clinic, Saga, Japan, by Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop