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Noah Tolson

I felt very early that if I’m going to be an Architect, then I should be one that contributes to the well-being of our society. I am honored to be a graduate of Clemson University’s Master of Architecture for Health program where I received a fellowship from the American Hospital Association and American Institute of Architects to research Pediatric Oncology. I have since been fortunate to work with many extraordinary strategic thinkers and healthcare design mentors. I have dedicated my career to understanding the business of, and delivering high performance healthcare architecture.
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Recent Posts

Integrating Project Planning to Benefit Every Endeavor

Posted by Noah Tolson on Dec 02, 2015 at 9:30 AM

We’ve all heard it: "Failing to plan is planning to fail." It becomes difficult when we’re not sure what to plan for, but we can’t allow the fear of the unknown to prevent us from heeding Mr. Franklin’s warning. One of the great things about working exclusively within the healthcare industry is working with people who care so much about what they do that getting them to plan for some anticipated need isn’t the problem; the challenge is getting them to focus the effort so that executing the plan is possible.

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Topics: planning

Healthcare Change is Here and It Is Happening Rapidly

Posted by Noah Tolson on Jan 27, 2015 at 11:01 AM

At Array, we focus exclusively on the design of environments to support healthcare. This specificity presents interesting challenges these days – as the world of healthcare continues to change in response to an evolving set of rules.  

Noah Tolson video on healthcare evolution

How can hospitals anticipate volumes or know where to concentrate their efforts, when they don’t know how services will be reimbursed? As in any business where a person requires a service, the business needs to anticipate and prepare ahead of delivering that service.Forward thinking institutions will prevail and stand a better chance at succeeding with the right strategy.

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Topics: continuous improvement, management series, Noah Tolson

pro•gram•ming noun \-miŋ\

Posted by Noah Tolson on Apr 03, 2014 at 7:33 AM

The thorough and systematic evaluation of the interrelated values, goals, facts and needs of a client’s organization, facility users and the surrounding community. A well-conceived program leads to high-quality design.

Array’s goal: To see to it that our clients receive buildings that are constructed as they were designed, within the allotted budget, at the expected date and operate efficiently and effectively for years after completion.

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Topics: planning, future state mapping, architecture, visioning, healthcare design, ACA, mock-ups, building information modeling, programming software, continuous improvement, advisory services, hospital design, Noah Tolson, array architects

How to Navigate the Changing Healthcare Real Estate Market

Posted by Noah Tolson on Mar 04, 2014 at 3:57 AM

Featured in Healthcare Global, October 2014

While the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has garnered a lot of attention, there are significant trends associated with its implementation that are impacting healthcare real estate.

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Topics: developer, planning, real estate, medical office building, architecture, healthcare design, ACA, Affordable care act, architects, continuous improvement, healthcare, hospital design, Noah Tolson

Discrete Event Simulation: Enhancing Flow in Healthcare Design

Posted by Noah Tolson on Feb 11, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Published in the November 2013 issue of Medical Construction & Design.

Discrete Event Simulation (DES), which has been utilized across industries for several decades, provides a virtual environment to track and visualize patients, equipment and providers as they move through the steps of care.It is an important tool in supporting Lean Design in the healthcare environment.

In order to achieve the desired physical environment, healthcare architects rely on a vast amount of data – and the tools for harnessing that data are becoming more advanced. Just as BIM optimizes early decision-making in the design phase, so to can Discrete Event Simulation (DES) influence the design of workflow and patient flow prior to construction.

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Topics: planning, architecture, healthcare design, Array, promodel, architects, continuous improvement, Discrete Event Simulation, hospital design, Noah Tolson, array architects

Questions Healthcare Organizations Should be Asking

Posted by Noah Tolson on Jan 04, 2013 at 9:31 AM

As a firm focused exclusively on healthcare design, we help healthcare institutions envision and realize their operations within the most appropriate setting. Never before has our job been more difficult – as the operations of healthcare are being forced to change to accommodate different patient and payment structures. But at the same time, it is also quite an honor to be in healthcare right now – as the roles that we all play, will undoubtedly have a huge impact on our communities’ future.In the past, we would sit with our clients and help to envision their future – we were used to asking questions, receiving answers and then collaborating on a solution to satisfy their needs. In most cases, we would identify a need for more Emergency Room beds, a conversion of semi-private patient rooms to private rooms, a new cancer center – or, as was the case before 2008 – brand new hospitals on a brand new campus. Array does this very well – As an architecture firm dedicated to healthcare – that came pretty easy.Nowadays though, we’re not the ones asking questions.

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Topics: architecture, healthcare design, ACA, Array, continuous improvement, advisory services, hospital design, Noah Tolson, array architects

Towards a New Healthcare Architecture – Part 3 of 3

Posted by Noah Tolson on Aug 08, 2012 at 11:12 AM

In my first post, I focused on actions that healthcare organizations can take. In my second post, my focus expanded to include other stakeholders in the healthcare debate.In this post regarding healthcare design following the ACA ruling, I end by envisioning how “the hospital of the future,” might be staffed and operated:

Extending The Brand:

One of the often overlooked strategies to achieving a successful transition of care has nothing to do with design or bricks and mortar or a re-alignment of clinical practice. As healthcare is thrown deeper into the world of commoditization, a health system’s brand becomes much more important. Here, brand is not just a hospital’s logo and sign on the front door – it is not the graphic that is recognized from afar so you know the building is owned (or leased) by a particular hospital. A hospital’s brand must pervade every portion of the experience – it is a feeling one has about the institution that is based on both physical, easy to identify characteristics and intangible qualities.

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Topics: architecture, Adrian Hagerty, healthcare design, ACA, Affordable care act, Array, hospitals, architects, continuous improvement, healthcare, advisory services, Noah Tolson, array architects

Towards a New Healthcare Architecture – Part 2 of 3

Posted by Noah Tolson on Aug 06, 2012 at 10:18 AM

In my previous post, I focused on actions that healthcare organizations can take. In this post, the focus widens to include other stakeholders in the healthcare debate:

Exceed Expectations:

As we collectively move forward in this new healthcare paradigm, it is important for all of us to understand that there are multiple stakeholders that hold high expectations for change as a result of the ACA. We must find greater efficiency and effectiveness through operational innovation.

  1. Public: The expectation of the public (as outlined in the ACA) is that everyone should be cared for and that care should have less mistakes through more coordination and communication. Better communication and coordination will help with efficiency; an efficient service is appreciated (and expected) by the consumer. As healthcare architects, we need to ensure that our designs not only support, but also facilitate communication.
  2. Healthcare Administrators: As design professionals, this shifting expectation should include an adaptation of the environment that houses healthcare environments. There should be an expectation that we can work with the providers to understand how the practice is changing (and recognize that everything we do must have an ROI to build better, different buildings to support this new practice.
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Topics: architecture, Adrian Hagerty, healthcare design, ACA, Affordable care act, Array, hospitals, architects, continuous improvement, healthcare, advisory services, Noah Tolson, array architects

Towards a New Healthcare Architecture - Part 1 of 3

Posted by Noah Tolson on Aug 02, 2012 at 6:16 AM

It has been just over a month since the Supreme Court deemed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) constitutionally sound, and I recommend that we stop debating about whether it is fair, accept that it has passed and deal with the implications of the ruling. The ACA will certainly have enormous impacts on an individual’s personal, financial and professional life; but more importantly – it points our country in the direction of a new era of healthcare delivery – a new path that is long overdue.

Before I address implications of the ruling, what do we agree on?

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Topics: architecture, Adrian Hagerty, healthcare design, ACA, Affordable care act, Array, hospitals, architects, continuous improvement, healthcare, advisory services, Noah Tolson, array architects

Nurse Station Design

Posted by Noah Tolson on Jun 17, 2012 at 3:48 AM

The design of a nurse station must accommodate the many different types of interaction and work that occur; it is an environment that needs to enhance collaboration, support intensive focus and allow for impromptu conversation.

Centralized vs. Decentralized Nurse Stations

A centralized nurse station is the central hub of the Unit. In most cases, all workstations, the unit assistant and most support equipment are located here.

Pros: Nurses and clinical staff work together in a central location. Quick access to peers paves the way for learning, mentoring and efficient communication. Resources can be consolidated.
Cons: Less proximity and visibility to the majority of patients, increased congestion and noise.

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Topics: nurse station, architecture, nurse station design, healthcare design, ACA, Array, renovation, hospitals, architects, continuous improvement, healthcare, hospital design, Noah Tolson, array architects