As the world's population ages, and life expectancy increases, health care becomes a primary issue. How can architects and designers respond to today's health care needs to create comforting environments that allow for new technologies? Thoughtfulness and innovation, of course.
The health care facility is viewed as a positive resource, says Jocelyn Frederick, AIA, Jury Chair for the 2012 AIA National Healthcare Design Awards. One that contributes to and is an extension of the community's health. This is more than just creating patient friendly satellite facilities; it is about creating public venues that allow the neighborhood to be active in both the institution and most importantly, their personal well being.
The coming year, says Frederick, will reveal greater integration of the design of the built environment in contributing to the well being of the end user, and continued focus on the patient, family and staff experience. Patients and families have come to expect a multitude of amenities that improve well being, outcomes, and quality of experience. And brand identity will increase in importance as clients undergo mergers, or are re-defining themselves to be more responsive to their constituents needs.
Meanwhile, providing the client with measurable outcomes remains one of the biggest challenges in health care design. There are structured studies underway to quantify some of our most basic assumptions, says Frederick. Emphasis is upon Evidence-Based Design, and as architects and interior designers many of the outcomes we cite are logical and intuitive rather than research based.
Analytics and research are surely the next step in health care design evolution. Here are some of the architects and designers staying ahead of the pack with their innovative health care designs:
Project: Capital Medical Center in Hopewell, New Jersey