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From Mowing the Lawn to Designing Hospitals

Posted by Mali Ouzts on Nov 07, 2016 at 1:05 PM

I know what you’re thinking, how did mowing the lawn lead to me designing hospitals?

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Topics: healthcare design, patient experience

Designing to Prevent Hospital Acquired Infections

Posted by Dwight Young on Sep 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Recently I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker for a Master-level class at Kent State University’s College of Architectural and Environmental Design. The class was part of their Healthcare Master of Architecture program, and focused on Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) and the physical environment. Over my 20 years of professional practice, 14 of which have been dedicated to healthcare, infection control protocol has become increasingly more important.

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Topics: healthcare design, infection control, hospital acquired infections

Overbuild Project: Unlimited Questions, Limitless Design Opportunities

Posted by Tony Caputo on Aug 05, 2016 at 10:00 AM

When the need arises for a healthcare system to expand its real estate, realign its programmatic adjacencies or analyze its lack of available land for expansion, the ensuing conversations may trigger the question of whether a facility’s vertical expansion is feasible. While many have planned in advance for an overbuild project, others have not and may find themselves trying to make the most informed decision at the earliest of stages of strategic development. You can never ask enough questions. That said, what are some of the key architectural, construction and operational issues to consider when deciding whether to vertically expand a facility?

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Topics: healthcare design, project considerations

Certificate of Need in the Competitive Healthcare Market

Posted by Fady Barmada on Mar 04, 2016 at 9:05 AM

With limited resources and burgeoning cost structures, the success of a healthcare project is increasingly determined by the degree of clinical program and scope alignment with established community health needs.

A Certificate of Need (CON) is a mechanism that helps drive that alignment. The CON verifies the requisite program and scope for construction, renovation and/or necessity of specialized medical equipment. Creating projects that align with the needs of their users, while stabilizing costs and services, helps avoid an inflated healthcare system. With the healthcare industry shifting from a quantity-driven practice to a quality-driven practice, healthcare planning must adapt as well.

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Topics: healthcare design, lean design, certificate of need

Strategic Considerations for Mechanical Equipment Rooms

Posted by Jason Lee on Jan 19, 2016 at 9:15 AM

While reflecting on factors that made recent projects successful, one area of importance came to mind: the Mechanical Equipment Room (MER). Many architects may not consider this an area of importance, as it is not typically a high-design area, rather more of a back-of-house area. Despite the fact that the MER may not have the Italian Travertine tile or the hand-blown glass lighting, it is the heart of the building. A tremendous amount of planning and thought is spent on this room, or rooms, during the core- and shell-build, or retrofits. Below are, from an architect’s perspective, strategic design considerations for Mechanical Equipment Rooms.

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Topics: healthcare design, mechanical equipment rooms, MER

Hospital Design for Future Flexibility

Posted by Kwang Lee on Dec 30, 2015 at 12:28 PM

While at my previous firm, one of our clients acquired an industrial building next to their hospital with the intention of converting it to a 300-bed inpatient hospital. The building had a large loading dock on the ground floor, as well as three parking floors and 10 industrial floors above. Soon after the purchase, it became apparent that renovating the building into a hospital wouldn’t be easy. The elevator core was in an awkward location and the parking ramp occupied a large portion of the ground floor. Simply put, it required many more-extensive modifications than the client was able to finance. Soon after this realization, the client announced its decision to demolish the building and construct a new, flexible hospital.

In another project, the client asked the firm to study the possibility of converting an inpatient hospital for other uses, such as labs, college classrooms, a senior living facility and offices. The facility was about 40 years old but well maintained. Our study revealed that, due to its robust mechanical and structural system with regularly spaced columns, and its concentrated core with an open floor plan, the facility had the potential for reuse for as many different functions as the new owner wanted.

Many clients see their buildings as a long-term capital investment and frequently regard them as "100-year" buildings. However, since nobody can predict what patient care will look like 20 years from now, let alone 100, “100-year” buildings are inevitably renovated many times for a variety of uses. Healthcare policy changes, such as the Affordable Care Act, and technology advancements directly and indirectly influence healthcare facilities and the healthcare market overall.

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Topics: healthcare design, hospital design, future flexibility

Accommodating Community & Hospital Needs System-Wide, Part 2

Posted by Jason Lee on Nov 04, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Large healthcare organizations that are actively merging with and/or acquiring facilities, as well as building new ground-up facilities for better healthcare offerings, need to consider overall performance objectives and determine ways to optimize their operations. In my last post, I discussed how the centralization of services improved quality and reduced cost for Montefiore Medical Center through a greater standardization of care. Now, I will discuss the benefits of and appropriate times for de-centralization.

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Topics: facility planning, healthcare design, master planning, adaptability, design approach

Mannington Reveals Philadelphia Design Local Carpet Line

Posted by Nicole Wood on Oct 06, 2015 at 11:30 AM

I blogged previously on the inspirational experience I had with my design cohorts as we explored our city and absorbed design cues during Mannington's Design Local event in Philadelphia.

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Recently, Mannington Commercial launched their newest carpet collection, “Design Local”, based on the work of the Philadelphia, Nashville and Seattle teams. Each line reflects the impressions the cities had on the designers as they explored the cities and took some time to see their surroundings from a different perspective. In Philadelphia, we were lucky enough to also be involved in helping to inform the color palette more extensively, working directly with Mannington’s designer.

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Topics: design local, healthcare design, philadelphia, Mannington

Accommodating Community & Hospital Needs System-Wide, Part 1

Posted by Jason Lee on Sep 10, 2015 at 8:00 AM

As healthcare systems continue to expand and evolve, a new challenge has emerged. Facilities, whether newly built or newly acquired, are bringing additional resources into the system. These new service offerings need to fit into the existing hospital puzzle known as the health system. How does a health system go about this challenge? How do they account for these added operations and remain efficient while simultaneously elevating patient satisfaction? Furthermore, how do they do this effectively while knowing that another system change can be right around the corner?

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Topics: facility planning, healthcare design, master planning, adaptability

How Design Process Influences a Healthcare Facility’s Life Cycle Costs

Posted by Andy Vogel on Aug 10, 2015 at 9:28 AM

In a previous lifetime, I worked for a large architecture firm that provided rollout retail work. While I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed this type of work very much, I did learn a lesson that would shape my career. This firm had achieved tremendous growth in the time I was there; and in a discussion with the president, he explained the success. They acquired a firm that focused on lean operations and ergonomics. The expertise this firm brought to the design process allowed us to save our clients money on staffing and workers’ compensation costs. To paraphrase the president, “If you can affect a business’ operations, then you can significantly affect their profitability.”

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Topics: approach, healthcare design, operations improvement