Tension. There is a paradigm shift that designers and architects are experiencing with the ‘Leaning’ of healthcare and the looming questions as it regards to healthcare reform. With this paradigm shift there is a tension that is emerging between maintaining the “hospitality” look, feel, and service of healthcare environments, while at the same time there is a challenge to create a Lean and more efficient operational model.

This tension is a perfect storm for innovation and collaboration on all levels. I am personally energized as a designer for this perfect storm and the opportunities that it opens up to understanding more deeply the intricacies of the economics and operations of the healthcare system. Engaging with stakeholders, c-suite administrators, contractors, and subcontractors in a manner that is truly collaborative has resulted in a higher quality outcome for staff and the patients they serve.

As we move forward in this balancing act between service and economy, healthcare and its delivery model will be in a constant state of improvement. As a designer, this is invigorating in a sense that we can approach each project with the eyes of a 12 year old. We are encouraged by our project and client team to shed our preconceptions and look to other sources for innovative ideas that will evolve into solutions to improve both built environments as well as the delivery of patient care.