David Ruthven, AIA
Co-lead and creative director, NXT Health (New York)

Who he is: At 32 years old, Ruthven has already garnered plenty of attention in the healthcare design field, starting in 2004 when he worked on a first generation patient room prototype as a graduate student in the Clemson University Architecture + Health program. During his time at Clemson, Ruthven was a recipient of the American Institute of Architects Academy of Architecture for Health Arthur N. Tuttle Jr. Graduate Fellowship in Health Facility Planning and Design.

Following graduation, he joined SmithGroupJJR in San Francisco, where he worked on several major hospital projects. He later began collaborating with nonprofit NXT Health on the design of a futuristic, technologically advanced inpatient environment. In 2011, he joined the organization full-time and has since recruited more than 40 partners to contribute to the project.

Year in review: In July 2013, the world met Patient Room 2020. The 400-square-foot next-generation inpatient room prototype was unveiled in New York, showcasing a design that strives to improve the healthcare experience by providing new opportunities for patient and family engagement, improving infection control, and optimizing caregiver performance.

One design concept is a “patient ribbon” that collects many of the common elements of a patient room (outlets, lighting, audio-visual equipment) into a single streamlined element that encompasses the headwall and footwall. Another feature is the “patient companion” that integrates a touchscreen tablet into an overbed table to create a piece of mobile furniture that offers patients access to controls, education, and entertainment.

The reveal earned plenty of buzz, and it wasn’t just the healthcare design industry that took note. Patient Room 2020 has been covered in Wired, Fast Company, Fortune/CNN, as well as numerous trade publications.

What’s next: The coming year will bring even more development of Patient Room 2020, with Ruthven and NXT Health also turning their attention to developing collaborative teams for projects in other key areas that impact human health, such as outpatient services, home healthcare, and community wellness.

THE HCD 10 (Click any winner's name for more information):

  • OwnerDavid Schuller, vice president of medical center expansion and outreach, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (Columbus, Ohio)
  • ArchitectLaura Poltronieri, principal, Poltronieri Tang & Associates (Swarthmore, Pa.)
  • Association/foundation executiveDouglas Erickson, CEO, Facility Guidelines Institute (Dallas)
  • Interior designerCarolyn BaRoss, design principal, Perkins+Will (New York)
  • ResearcherSheila Bosch, director of research, Gresham, Smith and Partners (Tampa, Fla.)
  • Construction executiveCarlos Gonzalez, project director, Clark/McCarthy, A Joint Venture (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
  • EducatorJames Shraiky, assistant professor, director of healthcare design initiatives, Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
  • Facility managerMitch Goplen, vice president and director of facility services and construction, Billings Clinic (Billings, Mont.)
  • Rising star: David Ruthven, co-lead and creative director, NXT Health (New York)
  • Firm of the year: Perkins+Will (worldwide)