After returning from the Healthcare Design Expo & Conference held Nov. 10-14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla., it occurred to me that while I always love running into people I often only see that one time each year, this latest event offered the opportunity to touch base with some other old acquaintances.
In my seven-plus years working on this brand, there have been numerous projects that stayed with me for one reason or another. And there at the conference, several of them were on display—big names and award winners, including the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (2011), St. Charles Cancer Center (2014), and the Swedish Medical Center’s Issaquah campus (2011).
But my personal trip down memory lane started with a tour of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, a project we profiled in 2013 as part of an award-winning special report on pediatric facility design. Five years after its opening, it’s still impressive. Several attendees noted how forward-thinking the design was for its time, thanks to an efficient and flexible layout, bold use of color, and sophistication where so many turn to juvenile theming. Most important, it’s working. With a near-capacity census, the organization will soon build out an observation unit, add inpatient beds, and welcome its first medical residents in 2019.
I sat in on a session on Fort Belvoir, where facility leaders shared the road they traveled to complete the military’s first evidence-based design (EBD) hospital in Fort Belvoir, Va., and whether the results matched expectations. For the most part, they did. In fact, EBD principles (single patient rooms, standardization, flexibility, family-friendly design) have continued to be implemented in new military healthcare facilities.
In another session, architects from ZGF Architects and an executive from St. Charles Cancer Center in Bend, Ore., shared that that project didn’t fare so well, despite an incredibly beautiful and innovative design that won it an Award of Merit in our 2015 Healthcare Design Showcase. The problem: A change in leadership prior to opening resulted in the Lean operational processes developed—and designed for—to not be followed, which meant the building actually impeded workflow. To read about the lessons presented from the Swedish Issaquah project, click here.
Collectively, it was an important reminder of the value of looking back, even informally, to see if the buildings so painstakingly designed operate as planned. I’ve never heard anyone argue the value of post-occupancy evaluation in this industry, yet I think we’d all agree we don’t see enough of it. I’m happy we’re able to share a recent POE in , and please don’t be shy about sending more our way.