L. KENT DOSS.
The principal and regional vice president, Mid-Atlantic region, at Array Architects in Conshohocken, Pa., discusses the top five trends and issues getting his attention right now
1. DATA-INFORMED DECISION--MAKING
As more data becomes available to guide the design process, the way we analyze and communicate this data should also evolve to facilitate more informed decision-making. For a recent project, our initial design concept resulted in a 68 percent energy use reduction (when compared to the owner's existing facility). However, the $3.86 million construction premium was initially unacceptable to the client. By using available data, we were able to show how the proposed design resulted in $924,237 in annual energy cost savings, which meant $24.4 million less in offsetting revenue-generating services that the hospital would have to deliver every year.
2. THINKING MICRO
As facility fees are reduced for outpatient services that aren't delivered on a hospital campus, many providers are exploring the microhospital model. While this idea may seem attractive, there are several factors that continue to give some providers pause. While microhospitals may yield higher billing rates with their "hospital campus" status, these projects also face higher costs of institutional occupancy construction (when compared to less-stringent business occupancy classifications for typical outpatient facilities) and increased costs of operating the facility 24/7/365.
3. ACCURACY, ACCURACY, ACCURACY
As the design industry continues to both compile more evidentiary data and understand how other nontraditional data sources can be integrated into design thinking, our ability to accurately predict the impact of design options is exponentially increasing. For example, by inputting psychographic and consumer segmentation data into probabilistic choice equations and comparing the results to heat maps that illustrate the services that are available to specific communities, we can gain a much clearer picture of where facilities should be located.
4. COORDINATED CARE
The functional medicine view of total health focuses on understanding the interactions between our lifestyles, dietary habits, and environment with our gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems. This system strives to find root causation of imbalances and identify behavioral changes that can heal without an over-reliance on medications. As this approach becomes more widely taught and practiced, the facilities we design must support holistic and integrated care.
5. FOOD AS MEDICINE
The potential for the healthcare industry to take a leadership role in diet and nutrition is skyrocketing as the benefits and compromises associated with our food choices are more widely understood and accepted. Instead of allowing commercialized mass marketers to take control of the food supply chain, the time is right for future-thinking healthcare providers to step in.