Originally published in Interiors & Sources

03/01/2013

Accommodating the ACA

A look at how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has the potential to influence the future of healthcare design.

By Kylie Wroblaski

 
  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0313/I_0313_Web_Focus_1.jpg

    Because of the ACA, healthcare designs moving forward will have to be more adaptable and accommodating. Corgan and HDR’s design for the New Parkland Hospital in Dallas provides separate circulation paths for patients and staff to reduce noise and congestion.
    rendering courtesy of HDR+Corgan View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0313/I_0313_Web_Focus_2.jpg

    Because of the ACA, healthcare designs moving forward will have to be more adaptable and accommodating. The above nurse’s station, designed by Inner Design Studio, is modular, so it can be reconfigured as the facility’s needs change.
    Photo courtesy of inner design studio View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0313/I_0313_Web_Focus_3.jpg

    The patient rooms at the New Parkland Hospital have been designed to be acuity-adaptable, reducing intra-hospital transfers, while nursing stations have been decentralized to increase staff time spent on direct care.
    rendering courtesy of HDR+Corgan View larger


building in flexibility
Flexibility and the ability to adapt a space to new needs may not be explicitly required by the ACA, but as the demands on our healthcare system continue to increase, it will become more and more critical.

“In order to design a facility that will serve patients and staff today as well as in the future, it is important to incorporate as much flexibility into the design as possible,” Larsen says. “Demographics, technology, and disease management may all change how hospitals will treat patients in the future. For example, in designing the New Parkland Hospital, a county hospital for the city of Dallas, we don’t know what imaging technology will look like in 50 years. As a way to anticipate the need for change, we recessed the floor on the imaging department. As equipment changes, the hospital has the flexibility to expand by removing the topping slab as required to install shielding.”

Not all flexibility enhancements need to be so drastic; Donner cites a recent project in which they created modular nursing stations, so that as the hospital’s situation changes, the stations can be easily (and inexpensively) reconfigured to meet its new needs.

READ: Get more resources for the coming changes in healthcare design at the Inside Sources blog.

Of course, while hospitals and clinics want flexibility for the future, they also want solutions to be efficient for their current needs. The trick for designers will be finding the middle ground between those two desires.

“We are being asked to put more in less, if you will, making everything so much more efficient,” explains Donner. “The steps that a nurse takes from the nurse’s station to the patient room to the nutrition room—everything is so much more efficient for their staff and way more efficient in terms of square footage.”

 

Kylie Wroblaski is a former editor for BUILDINGS magazine, and has written previously about architecture and facilities management.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


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