I recently have written about how the healthcare industry is facing major changes. Rising costs, new technology, shifting demographics, and new legislation all play into the way healthcare providers deliver care now and in the future. 

National healthcare discussion is placing a greater emphasis on containing costs, preventative care, wellness, and managing chronic diseases. By 2014, approximately 40 million more Americans will have access to health insurance with the Affordable Care Act, placing more demand on facilities and building infrastructure. 

For healthcare designers, this means thinking strategically about designing healthcare spaces. Patients and caregivers are beginning to think differently about how they use spaces—and about how they want to receive care. Technology is enabling patients to manage care remotely without actually visiting a clinic. And remote care will become more prevalent, impacting the architecture. If healthcare designers can save costs by re-envisioning space planning, they will bring long-term value to the owner—helping improve the healthcare delivery process. 

Flexibility, efficiency, and patient experience are the new operative words in healthcare design today. 

As designers, we often must address the needs and priorities of multiple clients—the patients, the caregivers, and the healthcare organizations. Our goal is to develop solutions that simultaneously satisfy these three client bases while evaluating how changes in healthcare delivery continue to affect clinic design. 

Over the next several blogs, I will deconstruct the standard clinic module to explore strategies for well-planned spaces. From location factors to the entry drive, front door, registration, waiting room, interior circulation, exam rooms, and check-out, I’ll look at design choices that contribute to a successful patient experience.     

And with your input, the unifying question we’ll attempt to answer is: How can clinic design make healthcare services more efficient and patient-friendly? Stay tuned.