The World War II Origins of Healthcare Spaces
For over 50 years, the overall design of healthcare spaces was not actually shaped based on what patients needed or wanted. Instead, it was dictated by the Hill-Burton Act, a landmark piece of legislation that was passed in 1946 in the years after World War II. It provided billions of dollars to places like public hospitals, clinics and more - all in an attempt to further the level of healthcare in this country.
The times may have changed, but the design of healthcare spaces remained fairly stagnant until recently. In recent years medical professionals have been dealing with dwindling resources, reimbursement models that change as frequently as the weather and other challenges - leaving the overall design of healthcare spaces in the background.
As these facilities approach a time when upgrading is more or less mandatory, professionals are finally looking for a way to upgrade their healthcare spaces and do more with less at the same time. This is due in part because they have to, but also because of the need to get the most "bang from their buck" when it comes to their facilities and the services they offer to patients. Thoughtfully designed healthcare spaces that take into consideration the needs of not only medical professionals but the patient experience is seen as the single best way to do exactly that.
Digital Technology and Healthcare Spaces: A Match Made in Heaven
Digital technology in general has played an increasingly important role in the healthcare industry in recent years in a number of ways. People now wear "smart" devices like watches that monitor their vitals. Medical facilities now use electronic health records to increase efficiency and reduce their footprint at the same time. It makes sense then that digital technology is also playing a hugely important role in ushering healthcare spaces designs into a bold new era with an eye on environments that combine the basic needs of patients with "smart" design practices when upgrading current medical facilities.
Digital technology is making waves in terms of both the patient and the caregiver experience. Laptop stations, Wi-Fi access and other elements are ideal for healthcare professionals to guarantee that they have access to all the resources they need to properly serve patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week if they need to. That same Wi-Fi access and a space designed for comfort creates an environment where patients can have a stress-free, optimistic experience that is so integral to the end result.
All of this is leading to the most important benefit of all: improved patient outcomes. Patients are dealing with not only shorter lengths of stay but fewer hospital-acquired infections, all of which ultimately leads to the improved health status that both patients and caregivers want so passionately.
Communication via Design: Learning to Send the Best Message
One of the keys to creating the best possible environment for patients while properly utilizing resources is the idea of communication by design. A healthcare environment shouldn't be a cold, sterile place. Places should communicate calm and warmth. They should be welcoming environments that are a comfortable space for both caregivers and staff members alike. Design can take healthcare spaces and transform them from a place that patients dread into a universally accepted environment. This can be accomplished by incorporating as much daylight as possible into places like extended-care rooms, for example, and by utilizing both natural palettes and organic materials with soothing colors.
Experts agree that customizing a room with an eye towards communication via design has shown to be incredibly beneficial to patient outcomes, particularly when it comes to children. Making an environment more comfortable also lowers stress, which ultimately makes it easier to provide patients with the lifesaving services they need and ultimately makes them more likely to return for the type of proactive healthcare that is so important in today's society.
The Medical Interior Design Experience
At Medical Interior Design, we understand just how important smart design is to your healthcare spaces and to the continued success of your organization as a whole. If you're in Southern California, New York, Manhattan, Los Angeles, or other areas in the nation and are looking to take the design of your healthcare spaces to the next level for the benefit of your patients and your organization please contact us today at 800-258-0702.