Designing the hospital of the future

New white paper from Tarkett explores the challenges and stakes of future hospitals

Hospital design will need to change in order to meet the challenges of the future, according to a new white paper from Tarkett

Hospital designers will need to focus on creating buildings that are human centric, efficient, flexible, and environmentally friendly in order to meet future challenges, according to a new white paper.

Informed by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and based on extensive research into best-practice design and the global healthcare outlook; the publication, from building product and flooring specialist, Tarkett, draws on the expertise of a panel of 12 international experts.

Entitled Designing The Hospital of the Future: Challenges and Stakes , the comprehensive 70-page paper highlights the need for a multi-disciplinary collaborative approach to realising a fundamentally-new model for the hospital of the future – one that is human centric, efficient, flexible and environmentally responsible.

The paper is being made freely available as a contribution to the debate and is helping to drive forward thinking among healthcare providers, consultants, designers, and suppliers.

The Hospital of the Future will need to optimise medical time and be better prepared for large-scale emergencies, while improving the patient experience and quality of work life for hospital staff

it will also be used to guide Tarkett’s own product innovation strategy moving forward.

Among the key challenges highlighted in the report is ensuring access to, and continuity of, care amid increasing demand for services, the threat of future global health crises, and an ongoing shortage of medical staff.

It states: “The Hospital of the Future will need to optimise medical time and be better prepared for large-scale emergencies, while improving the patient experience and quality of work life for hospital staff.

And the acceleration of digital health adoption driven by COVID-19 and the shift in patient mentality from passive to active offers tremendous new opportunities, it adds.

Human centric

“Empowering patients and families seems key to allowing patients a more-active role in their own healthcare, in and out of the hospital, reducing hospital stays, or even avoiding them,” the paper states.

“And designing for quality of life in medical facilities is a central component of the patient experience.

“This should include the creation of healing spaces that promote privacy and give patients a sense of control over their environment.

“Fostering connections with family and friends is also crucial.”

Also key is making hospitals ‘Great places to work’, and supporting medical staff by providing them with dedicated spaces for rest.

Efficient and flexible

Embracing digital health technologies is an opportunity to rethink the patient journey and encourage remote care monitoring and outpatient interventions to free up valuable hospital resources while ensuring continuity of care.

Smart buildings, for example, will allow medical staff to focus more on the human aspects of their work by speeding up day-to- day tasks.

In addition, the use of a digital twin for the built environment will facilitate maintenance and help to reduce a hospital’s environmental impact and costs.

“Designing for flexibility and quick reconfiguration will be essential to manage future emergency crises, accommodating patient surges while guaranteeing continuity of care for existing patients,” says the paper.

And the NHS’s recent net-zero carbon pledge will have a major impact on design strategies.

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the weaknesses in healthcare systems around the world and created an imperative to address these weaknesses; it also accelerated the adoption of digital health technologies which will facilitate the radical level of change required

The paper states: “Reducing the environmental impact of hospitals is imperative.

“This could be achieved through reduced energy consumption, improved waste management, and sustainable purchasing and procurement policies.

“Encouraging sustainable patient journeys by avoiding wasteful or unnecessary stays could also have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

It concludes: “Just as the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the weaknesses in healthcare systems around the world and created an imperative to address these weaknesses; it also accelerated the adoption of digital health technologies which will facilitate the radical level of change required.

“A deeper integration of digital technology, a raising of the bar in standards of sustainability, and an approach that is fundamentally human centred will ensure that the Hospital of the Future delivers high-quality, cost-effective medical care that meets the needs of patients, medical staff, and the wider community, now and for the future.

“Tarkett is committed to playing an active role in this transformation, continuing to innovate and collaborate with the broad spectrum of partners across the global healthcare community to realise together the greatest potential of the Hospital of the Future.

Click here to read the full report.

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