2019 Healthcare Facility Design Trend Predictions

Healthcare Design is an ever-evolving topic as systems must continuously adapt to meet complex regulations, reduce operating expenses, integrate emerging technologies, keep up with the quickly changing, consumer-driven landscape, and deliver world-class care to their communities. E4H Environments for Health Architecture, partners closely with health systems to develop an approach to these diverse challenges. The partners at E4H Environments for Health Architecture developed the following list of national design trends that will impact the healthcare design industry in 2019.

Designing for Resiliency
Healthcare facilities function 24/7 which requires them to be sustainably designed in order to maximize resources and reduce energy use/costs. With global warming’s effects quickly shifting the dynamics of our geography, the need for resiliency has made its way to the forefront of design discussions. How will the physical facility perform in the face of a natural or man-made disaster? What is the role of a hospital building to provide shelter and care to a community ravaged by a hurricane, flooding or wildfires? Can our buildings continue to function when all the municipal systems (water, power, sanitary services) around them are compromised?  What protects the safety of patients and staff when there’s an active shooter on the premises? These questions help us think beyond the standard disaster-preparedness drills to ensure the designs we develop thoughtfully address the needs of patients, staff, and their community in a time of unprecedented stress. New operational protocols require new plans, different physical barriers, and an innovative approach to the use of materials. Many E4H projects have been impacted by natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, this year’s Hurricane Michael in Florida, and the 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake in Alaska.

The Expanding Role of Genomics in Healthcare
Genomic research is impacting many fields of medical research and is emerging as a key disruptor in healthcare delivery and patient treatment. With rapid technological advances and decreasing costs associated with DNA sequencing, a more accessible diagnostic tool, genomic research has provided a new lens into difficult-to-diagnose and rare diseases. Additionally, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a mature molecular technology, is being refined through improved techniques, new assays, and much higher throughput capabilities than ever before. We are seeing more molecular testing being done in the clinical lab, with many hospitals creating entirely new Molecular Pathology departments. This genomic data is opening the doors to greater predictability of drug efficacy, an increase in personalized medicine and targeted therapies, resulting in improved patient outcomes. E4H Clients such as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute are at the frontier of translational medicine in healthcare.

AI and Virtual Healthcare
Healthcare delivery has spent the last decades working to transform a process that is heavily dependent on data, and make it work smarter. Hospitals and health systems have been working hard to convert and optimize their databases to improve patient care and streamline processes. Artificial Intelligence is now poised to become the next evolution of healthcare data management, analysis and prediction.

The ability of AI to analyze data and predict outcomes and trends will have impacts not only in the clinical fields, but also operational and the physical environments. AI has already begun to demonstrate its ability to assist clinicians with diagnosis and prevention of medical errors. As this technology matures, it will have a profound impact both on care delivered at healthcare sites and in the virtual realm allowing for more informed diagnosis, smarter monitoring and alerts, and outcome predictions based on patient specific data. As facilities incorporate AI into their operations, it will allow them to look at the effect of the environment on patient, staff, and materials movements. Which will provide them with the opportunity to refine their operations through scheduling to enhance throughput and eliminate waste. This insight will help better inform changes to the physical environment to better suit their needs based on the data that they are able to extract about the flow of material and people within their walls.

AI will provide facilities with the ability to better predict their needs for supplies and deliveries such as medical supplies, food, linens, pharmaceuticals and energy based on patient scheduling.  This will help facilities further reduce the costly footprint of onsite storage through better managed just-in-time deliveries.

Due to the growing need for patient data and medical records to be shared across a network of healthcare entities, blockchain integrations systems have seen a push in digital health as well. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by allowing the sharing and analysis of critical patient data in real time to improve quality of care. Blockchain also increases the ease of information sharing between healthcare providers and patient, thus making data much more secure which allows facilities to better manage their inter administration and IT workflows. It is vital for healthcare systems to become aware of the increased efficiency new technologies can quickly implement, for not only healthcare providers but for all end users alike.

Post-Surgery Accommodations
Health systems are constantly looking for ways to decrease operating expenses. One popular method is to alleviate the real estate footprint. This can be accomplished by moving administrative staff and outpatient services to off campus locations. A newer, growing trend is to move recovering patients off site to a nearby location where transportation is provided to and from the hospital if need be. This model is a convenient option for the patient, caregiver and provider. This allows for the patient and their family to have a sense of privacy, improving the patient experience as well as the rate of recovery.

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s 75th Street Patient Residence accommodates patients with blood cancers and disorders as well as patients receiving a bone marrow transplant. The residence offers fully furnished apartments with on-site concierge services to assist with care coordination. Transportation to and from Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Hospital is available.

Wellness Integration
With the healthcare industry shifting its focus to preventative, population health, wellness has gained significant momentum over the last several years. Wellness incorporates the entire body and all systems as why functional medicine is the science of health, focused on the person and restoring the body’s natural metabolic processes; where traditional medicine is focused on disease.  Wellness is an integral part of delivering holistic healthcare.

As reimbursement continues to shift to a model that encourages preventative healthcare, we are seeing a shift in not only delivery of care but the physical aspects of the hospitals themselves. This growing trend can be seen in healthcare facilities across the country in the form of community gyms, yoga studios, and dietary kitchens fully loaded with cooking classes. This allows the health systems to make use of unused space, keep patients engaged and accountable for their healthcare by providing other interactions besides checkups and/or emergency situations. This shift provides an opportunity for the hospital to build relationships with the community. Many E4H clients offer nutritional services, full gyms, and community programs to promote wellness such as Covenant Health Lifestyle Centre in Lubbock,TX.

Boutique Medical Centers
There are two primary factors driving the rise of boutique specialty care centers, or precision medicine, nation-wide. One, a new and unique generation of informed healthcare consumers who expect quality, convenience and customization for all their needs, the other an advancing platform of technologies permitting providers a greater range of services bundled at a single point of care.

Millennials prioritize the enrichment of their health, lifestyles and experiences. Their decisions are based off quick and convenient platforms such as Google reviews, Yelp, Zocdoc, and several others that allow consumers to select a facility based off reviews vs a physician referral. Millennials are quick to express unmet expectations which has caused the healthcare systems to expand their service offerings. This new generation responds more readily to a successfully branded, boutique environments of clinical care.

Convenience is a pillar of retail success which suggests that healthcare systems will have to pivot in order to thrive in this arena. Healthcare providers are trying to diversify, differentiate and deliver their product distinctly to stay competitive. Fortunately, advances in technology and flexible design, have afforded clinical providers the means to offer broader ranged and more complex services in a single exam or treatment room; services that may have previously necessitated multiple visits to multiple locations. E4H projects such as the Hospital for Special Surgery Orthopedic Center Of Excellence in Palm Beach, FL offer full diagnostics services, ambulatory surgery, rehabilitation, and sports performance programs in one location.

About E4H
Committed exclusively to the design of innovative health facilities, E4H Environments for Health is a national architecture firm focused on improving outcomes through inspired design. Our team of future-focused strategists and visionary health and life science architects create flexible, state-of-the-art facilities designed to enhance the well-being of our clients’ patients, staff and families. With more than four decades of experience, we provide value to our clients through the design of LEAN, economically and environmentally sustainable spaces. E4H’s unique SmartDesign process fosters collaboration and drives next-generation solutions to complex challenges encountered in today’s health landscape. Combining experience with for-profit and non-profit institutions allows us to provide efficient, speed-to-market solutions for our clients.

 

For more information, visit www.e4harchitecture.com.

Designing with Holograms

Advancements in technology have transcended the limits of discovery and innovation in the world of modern healthcare, not only in terms of scientific discovery but also in the way hospitals do business. Physician and hospital personnel have incorporated technology into their everyday routine by switching over to electronic medical records and scheduling. We are living longer, finding cures to the so-called “incurable” and designing new and improved techniques to teach the next generation of doctors because of these recent developments.

One of the latest technological advancements that may change the way we design healthcare space is the partnership between global medical technology company, Stryker and Microsoft. The two companies have teamed up to create a new method of designing operating rooms. Using Microsoft HoloLens and Stryker software, hospitals can better visualize plans for their new operating room with 3D holograms. No more need to push and move around expensive and heavy equipment to see the design of the room. With the HoloLens you can move and shape the equipment with the pinch of two fingers to create an operating room that satisfies the needs of all departments.

In addition to making healthcare architecture more efficient, Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic have been using it to teach the next generation of physicians human anatomy in completely new ways. Students can see human anatomy layer by layer by isolating specific systems and organs. For example, students are able to gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of a heart before ever opening a human chest. We are excited about the Stryker and Microsoft HoloLens technology and the possibilities it creates for medical teaching and scientific discovery.

For more information on this promising new technology click here.

Promising New Treatment for Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition associated with an inflammatory response to infection that has the potential to cause multiple organ failure. Sepsis kills more people in the hospital than any other disease. Worldwide, Sepsis is estimated to impact 15 to 19 million people annually with a mortality rate approaching 60% in low income countries.

Many people in the scientific and medical communities are hoping that the findings of Dr. Paul Marik in the Journal Chest will revolutionize the treatment of Sepsis. Dr. Marik, working from preliminary research findings by Dr. Berry Fowler and his colleagues at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, began treating septic patients with an intravenous cocktail of vitamin C, low dose of corticosteroids, and thiamine (another vitamin).

After Dr. Marik treated 50 patients, he submitted his results to Chest. Of 47 patients treated with the vitamin C cocktail, only four died in the hospital. Of the four deaths, all were from their underlying diseases – not from sepsis. For a control, Dr. Marik looked back at 47 septic patients treated previously in his hospital without vitamin C infusion and found that 19 had died. While the data is still suggestive, the outlook is promising.

Dr. Fowler and his laboratory at VCU was recently awarded a $3.2 million grant from the NIH to run a controlled study to examine the use of vitamin C to treat sepsis. The study will be conducted at several universities and be double-blinded (information about the test kept from the testers and participants) as to limit bias, both intentional or unconscious.

We are excited about the potential of this research and the tremendous potential this will have on both patients and the healthcare industry.

We learned of the success and studies from NPR, in their article Doctor Turns Up Possible Treatment for Deadly Sepsis.

Breakthrough in Autism Research

An exciting breakthrough in autism research was recently published in the highly reputable academic journal, Nature. Scientists have observed brain enlargement in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A retrospective analysis of head circumference and longitudinal brain volume studies in two to four-year-olds indicate increased brain volume may be an early indicator of ASD. These findings suggest an earlier diagnosis may be possible, helping those with ASD and their caregivers better respond to challenges associated with the disorder.

In any given year, 1 in 68 Americans is diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jacques Black, AIA, a partner in our New York City office, has completed several projects for the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain in White Plains, NY. Together with Cathy Lord, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, he has published and presented on the unique dynamics of the built environment and individuals with ASD.  For example, when designing for autistic patients it is important to acknowledge and address their sensitivities to noise, color, and texture.

We are excited about the potential this research has for young families across the world and will continue to seek to better understand how to design spaces which address the unique needs of patients with ASD.

Cancer Death Rates Fall

cancer-ribbons

E4H was elated to read the number of deaths from cancer in the United States have dropped 25 percent since hitting a peak in 1991. The report, issued by the American Cancer Society, hit home for a lot of us.

This drop means that 2.1 million fewer people died from cancer between 1991 and 2014 than would have died if cancer death rates had remained at their 1991 level, the researchers said. As mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children, we appreciate what a big deal this is for families across the world.

The continuing drops in the cancer death rate are a powerful sign of the potential we have to reduce cancer’s deadly toll,” Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said in a statement. “Continuing that success will require more clinical and basic research to improve early detection and treatment, as well as strategies to increase healthy behaviors nationwide.”

We are proud of our work with both healthcare providers and researchers who work to fight the many forms of this disease.

This story was originally reported in LiveScience

 

Tracking Cancer

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New research out in American Chemical Society (ACS) Nano suggests the approach to tracking cancers may be on the verge of revolution. Liposomes, tiny fatty envelopes, are often used to package anti-cancer drugs as they tend to congregate around loosely bound tumor cells as a matter of biophysics.

Rafael de Rosales of King’s College, London, and Alberto Gabizon of the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre in Jerusalem have treated mice with liposomes doped with radioactive metal ions and shown the special liposomes congregate around an animals’ tumor. What is special about this finding is that these supped up liposomes are visible by positron-emission tomogoraphy (PET) scanning and therefore assist physicians in following the course of drugs.

This new discovery has the potential to assist physicians in better understanding how to target cancers with missile like efficiency. The Economist published an article on this research originally published by ACS Nano.

We are excited by the progress being made in laboratories around the world to fight cancer. We feel privileged to be able to support institutions in making such remarkable strides in life sciences.

New Bone Regeneration Study

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The Shah Tissue Engineering and Additive Manufacturing (TEAM) Lab recently published an article in Science Translational Medicine describing their breakthrough in bone regeneration engineering.

Shah’s lab bioengineered a new hyperelastic “bone” material that is cheap, versatile and easy to print. This invention has the potential to revolutionize the repair or regeneration of bones.

Interestingly, when TEAM placed human bone marrow stem cells on a sample of hyperelastic “bone,” its presence was enough to stimulate them to mature into bone cells. The new material served as a scaffold for the cells to form their own natural materials.

Popular Science originally reported on this breakthrough. In the article they quote coauthor Ramille Shah of Northwestern University,“I think ideally it would be great if we could have these printers in a hospital setting where we can provide them the hyperelastic ‘bone’ ink and then they can then make patient specific implants that day—within 24 hours,” Shah said.

This new material has tremendous potential to revolutionize the way bone injuries are treated in the future. We are excited by the thoughtful and applicable research coming out of higher education.