Healthcare Spaces

The healthcare ecosystem is as huge as it is complex. From primary care organisations and hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts, to private healthcare providers, charities and social enterprises, the size and remit of the different parts of the system varies wildly. There’s one thing they have in common, however. From life-saving treatments for critical illnesses to minor ailments, from bringing new life into this world to easing the journey for those nearing the end, healthcare organisations are there to make a difference at our most challenging moments. If ever there were environments that need to be optimised through intelligent design and clever technology, these are they.

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Key Benefits:

Technology transforms healthcare delivery

The hospitals of the future – and other facilities within health services, including GP surgeries and specialist clinics – will look and work quite differently to those we have been familiar with. Some of the changes we noticed during the pandemic, such as the rise in virtual consultations and the increased use of technology for patient communication and organisation, will remain a key part of the way healthcare settings operate going forward. The benefit of technology will be seen in many aspects of the management and delivery of healthcare services. From virtual screening, monitoring and e-visits, to the analysis and forecasting of demand, to smart spaces and digitally enabled hospitality for improving the patient experience, innovation and digital communication will improve the experience of service users and staff alike, while also bringing benefits such as increased efficiency, value for money, and improvements in quality.

Key Benefits:

Next generation hospital ecosystems

Experts predict that the future model of healthcare will involve hospitals – with fewer beds overall – that are focused on complex cases and procedures, such as trauma and critical care, infectious diseases and isolation services, and surgery or specialised treatment (cancer, cardiac, orthopaedics). Parts of the building might also act as a health hub, part of a wider system which encompasses ambulatory, outpatient, retail, virtual and home services, as well as services which improve drivers of health (food, housing, employment), and community-orientated holistic care services. The ecosystem likely also includes significant home-based care, delivered virtually, as an evolution of the massive uptake of such services during the pandemic – an estimate in the Lancet indicated this was a ten-fold increase. There have been proven benefits to both the system – freeing up beds and budgets – as well as to the wellbeing of patients who have been able to stay in familiar surroundings and still access the healthcare services they need (with better clinical outcomes).

Key Benefits:

Better patient experiences

Virtual triage can start before the patient even leaves their home, directing them whether they might need to seek an appointment with their GP, further advice from a nurse-manned telephone line, or access urgent care through a hospital A&E visit or even emergency ambulance services. Hospital visits can be stressful, even without any health concerns to contend with, it’s tricky enough navigating an unfamiliar campus and being in the right place at the right time. Future patients will be aided by a hospital app, which – as soon as they make an appointment – reminds them to fill in pre-visit paperwork, suggests the best public transport or parking options, and offers other ‘what to expect’ details. On-site wayfinding then ensures they can arrive promptly, while post-appointment information might include test results, subsequent appointment availability, and treatment information. The app might also facilitate smoother discharge, and offer health advice to aid recovery. It's not just the medical and communication technology that we will see transforming patients’ experiences, entertainment technology will have its place in healthcare settings where waiting areas and patient rooms are designed to offer a more relaxing, health-supporting ambience.

Key Benefits:

Data informs decision-making

The maximisation of workflow efficiencies, and improvement in facility utilisation and patient experience can be achieved by an analysis of the data delivered by digital systems and smart spaces. AI and machine learning are billed as future transformative powers, although much simpler approaches using sensor technology to track trends in staff and patient behaviour can show how facilities – and processes – might be better organised, arranged or designed to simultaneously raise standards and reduce costs. On a clinical level, increased use of technology to monitor patient health, combined with interoperable data systems, offer the opportunity to improve diagnosis rates and guide treatment plans.

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