New buildings as an opportunity for fundamental change
Buildings are behaviours cast in concrete. To a degree not to be underestimated, buildings determine how people behave in them, how, who they work closely together with, what works well, and what makes everyday life more difficult. A new building is a unique opportunity to set the course “right” for the future and to thoroughly rethink the way things have been done so far. This is a challenging and complex task, especially in the healthcare sector. Often the already known design is reproduced—simply bigger, nicer, and newer. The actual users are only involved in the process when the planning is already well advanced, and far-reaching changes are either no longer possible or cost a lot. The results are a moderately functional building, delayed projects, additional costs in planning, construction, and operation, dissatisfied users, and a missed opportunity to prepare for the future in the best possible way.
Consequently, the functional perspective must be given more weight in the construction process. This perspective will determine whether a building is successful over the next 30 years. The next generation of hospitals should make it easy to operate efficient and safe team medicine. Patients should feel comfortable. During the realisation of an infrastructure project in the healthcare sector, it is absolutely crucial to always take into account the perspectives of future patients, the staff working there, and the operator when making the numerous construction decisions. This is where our approach of integrated and user-centred hospital planning comes in.
Anchoring patient orientation in the DNA of the infrastructure
The following questions must be answered precisely in every hospital planning process:
- What goals are we pursuing with this building? Answer: The strategy.
- What will we do in this building? Answer: The proposal planning.
- How will we work? Answer: The processes.
- What will we need for this? Answer: The nine rivers of medicine.
The answers to these questions are illuminating. Anyone who thinks that these central questions of hospital planning. The room for manoeuvre is then missing.
Modern infrastructure is based on how the patient moves through the building and how the services reach the patient. The starting point for all considerations is the so-called value stream. In a hospital, different flows must be harmonised: patients and relatives, employees, information, medicines, consumables, equipment, and finally the overall process logic.
Building hospitals according to patients’ needs has proven to be the right approach, justifying the motto “the patient always comes first.” However, employees’ needs are also taken into account.
A holistic approach to the design of healthcare buildings
Design thinking is used in the construction industry as an innovative approach to making the planning of construction and conversion projects innovative and sustainable. It defines functional buildings that are patient-centred, economical, safe, and easy to use. Design thinking in construction fits seamlessly into a forward-looking understanding of hospital planning. Feedback from patients and relatives is sought at all stages of modern hospital planning. Although many employees and planners have been patients before, it is easy to forget what it is like on the other side.
Central to integral hospital planning is that patients and relatives, employees, and those responsible for the construction work side by side on the design of the future. The American architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase “f” as early as 1896, and it is a proven architectural principle to follow the path from function to form. In a hospital, this is not enough. The chain is much longer—from strategy to processes, then from processes to function, and, finally, from function to form. It is obvious that these works cannot be carried out by architects alone. The client for a new building is responsible here.
Integral hospital planning takes many forms. The walkerproject team advocates working in a prototype zone as early as possible. There, processes are developed with patients, relatives, and employees and tested immediately. The decision on. In this way, employees are already developing the future before moving into the new building. This approach creates a platform for sparking innovation in a very goal-oriented way.
In our role as hospital planners, we ensure that decisions are made in line with the overall concept and with a view to optimal operation. We incorporate knowledge gained from numerous operational projects and ensure that short-term optimisation of the construction project does not take place at the expense of operations.
The bird’s eye view: based on data, involving experts from the medical disciplines, and in coordination with the planning of the offer, a hypothesis is developed for the placement of different units in an area or in a building.
An interprofessional design team uses 1:1 mock-ups/prototypes to clarify how work will be done in a specific functional area in the future. Change management and preparation for the new way of working already start at this stage of hospital planning.
The level of detail of the prototypes (1:1 mock-ups) is increased. Depending on the focus, detailed processes are developed at the workflow level, or the exact size and equipment of individual rooms are defined. Structural requirements are continuously derived and synchronised with the architectural and technical planning.
Accompaniment of the structural realization
As hospital planners, we accompany the entire construction process from a functional perspective. We make sure that the best possible solution from the point of view of future operation enable. A conclusive overall concept is made possible with the right service for the patient and a supportive working environment for the employees.
To ensure that the new building is used optimally and that the employees feel comfortable from day one, targeted preparations are needed for commissioning. We support the process with simulation-based training and systematic coaching after the move.
Do you want to learn more?
Would you like to learn more about integrated hospital planning? We would be delighted to tell you more about our project work in an obligation-free conversation or answer any questions you may have. Our team is looking forward to hearing from you!