Hospital Design Gets Serious

May 1, 2012

Healthcare professionals are looking to building design to streamline and improve the patient experience.

To understand the challenges facing healthcare institutions and their impact on design and construction trends, Mortenson Construction conducted a survey at the 2011 Healthcare Design Conference. More than 300 healthcare administrators and facilities managers, architects, builders, and suppliers provided feedback.

The survey documents a prevalent need for high-functioning buildings that offer improved energy efficiency, sustainability options, and patient-focused designs.

Roughly 70% of healthcare institution respondents pursue LEED or other sustainability certifications on new projects. Others mentioned that LEED is the “responsible response” to environmental concerns and enhances their institution’s reputation.

Architects also strongly support LEED across the board, though some have reservations that the rating is a buzzword without significant savings. More than 90% felt the certification is a “significant opportunity to eliminate waste and reduce energy” and 70% thought it concretely improves energy performance.

Over 52% of healthcare providers believe that “uncertainty in the healthcare market has diminished the value of multi-year facilities master planning,” underscoring the need for facilities management processes to be flexible as well. With this attitude in mind, nearly half of architects think improving operational efficiencies will be increasingly prevalent over the next few years.

Regardless of the challenges, three in four healthcare institutions expect their construction activity to increase over the next 12-24 months, with 27% describing the growth as substantial.

The survey points to one power motivator expressed by the majority of respondents – enhancing facilities and their physical design will improve patient experience and outcomes, staff effectiveness, and employee recruiting and retention.

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