Healthcare Design Trends in India

October 21, 2011
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DM Healthcare's 500-bed hospital in Kochi, Kerala. Photo credit: HKS. Hospital Chennai in Tamil, Nadu. Photo credit: HKS. Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences. Photo credit: Manchanda Associates. Prototype Razi Clinic in Hyberabad. Photo credit: Anjali Jospeh, The Center for Health Design.
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The Indian healthcare industry is expected to grow to $79 billion in 2012 from $40 billion in 2010. This number will increase to $230 billion by 2020. This exciting growth responds to various demographic and economic trends, including an increasing population, rise in disposable income, increasing consumerism and demand for high-quality healthcare, greater incidence of lifestyle-related diseases, increasing employer-based insurance coverage, and increased government spending on public healthcare. Advancements in medical sciences and technology as well as an influx of foreign-trained doctors in the workforce also have led to an increasing focus on providing state-of-the-art equipment and services to patients.

In the last 10 years, there has been a parallel demand for high-quality hospital infrastructure to support the growing demands for healthcare. In India, healthcare is provided in primarily three types of settings: government-funded and run hospitals and healthcare clinics that provide free healthcare services, private for-profit hospitals and health centers, and mission-based nonprofit hospitals. The first two types of settings comprise the majority of the healthcare infrastructure in the country.

Trends in private healthcare projects

Private for-profit hospitals are seeing a marked growth with several facility design projects underway in different parts of the country. According to WHO health statistics from 2010, around 75% of the total annual healthcare spending in India came from the private sector. Hospital systems such as Fortis and Apollo have been immensely successful in the last 10 years in providing high-quality healthcare services to a growing educated and affluent urban population. While revenue generation is a key goal for these hospitals, emulation of Western standards and ensuring the best outcomes for patients is important in order for them to attract and retain customers.

To stay competitive in the market, hospitals are opting for external accreditation through international organizations such as Joint Commission International or India’s National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers. Accreditation also is seen as an important process for improving patient safety and quality of care provided to patients. With medical tourism being an important driver, many private hospitals aspire to provide high-quality built environments similar to those found in U.S. and European hospitals.

Commenting on some of the key drivers for private hospital design in India, Gaurav Chopra, vice president and director, South Asia region, HKS Architects, says, “While there is a growing focus on patient-centered care, many new private hospitals are investing heavily in new technology and equipment, and often the built environment mandate is to house this technology. Also, given the demand for hospital beds and its direct relation to the bottom line, the focus of hospital design projects is primarily on increasing bed capacity.”

According to Chopra, many private hospitals provide a combination of multi-bed wards (15-20% total bed count), single occupancy rooms (around 70%), and luxury single rooms for high-paying customers (around 5%). Infection control is an important concern for healthcare facilities in India and selection of cleanable and durable materials is a key design driver. Local culture and traditions, as well as climate, are important factors that impact the layout of spaces and building form and design.

For example, family members are usually present at all times during a patient’s hospital stay, which requires larger patient rooms. Providing larger waiting rooms for families in the emergency department, surgery, and ICU also is necessary. In addition, spirituality and religion are an important part of life in India, and hospital artwork may refer to symbols and images of the dominant culture in the region.

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