There is a current focus on technology in healthcare design like there has never been in the past. The focus began just a few years ago with the widespread implementation of electronic medical records for many organizations both large and small which, at the time, was big tech. However, the technology impacting design today has a much larger application. For example, RFID tagging and smart medical equipment installation and usage has increased dramatically. RFID technology can track a person from the time they enter a healthcare facility until the moment they leave, which can supply valuable data to the healthcare provider to help improve patient experience and facility efficiency, reducing wait times and streamlining work flow. Many providers are focusing on how to simplify a visit for a patient by physically moving them less. A typical patient moves four times during a single visit: first to the lobby, then to the height/weight area, to the exam room, the lab and finally to check-out. Work flow systems alert physicians, nurses and technicians when a patient is ready for the next step allowing the service to come to them. Smart technology can also lead to immediate rooming and self-rooming options by automating processes that are now done manually by a person. For example, instead of seeing a registrar, a patient would check in on a kiosk. The kiosk would give them a room name and number and direct them to the room, visual cues like colors, textures or notable physical elements help patients find their way. In addition to RFID tracking, smart equipment is being built into the design, like exam tables that weigh the patient and automatically download that information to the patient’s EMR and through the use of smart vitals machines that measure blood pressure, heart rate and temperature, leaving less room for human error both in process and data entry. Technology surrounding the healthcare industry is rapidly advancing and is daily impacting the way space is designed and occupied, through improving efficiencies for staff and potentially reducing the space needed for waiting areas, exam rooms and blood draw areas. By optimizing spaces like waiting areas, more exam rooms can be built, therefore increasing capacity for visits and decreasing wait times.
Senior Director, Project Management
Colliers International | Minneapolis - St. Paul
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