Master Class: Derek Parker
Name: Derek Parker
Award: Most Influential People in Healthcare, 2009 and 2010
Then: Director emeritus, Anshen+Allen (San Francisco and London; now part of Stantec Architecture)
Now: Founder and chairman, PCI (Tiburon, Calif.)
What he’s been up to: Founded PCI in 2004; worked on projects including Laguna Honda Hospital, Palomar Pomerado Health System, the Kaiser Permanente Small Hospital Big Idea Competition, Li Ka-Shing Cancer Hospital in China, and the conceptual design for mini medical centers in rural Myanmar; and received several industry awards, including the Distinguished Practice Award from the American Institute of Architects, The Center for Health Design Changemaker Award, the American College of Healthcare Architects Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lifetime Leadership Award by the International Academy for Design & Health (Stockholm).
What’s one thing about the evolving healthcare design landscape that excites you?
As a result of the efforts of The Center for Health Design, the AIA Academy for Health and the International Academy for Design and Health, we’ve come a long way in the last decade in improving the design of healthcare facilities and in understanding that architecture can be a legitimate therapeutic modality. Now, there is no excuse for a healthcare provider and the architect not to benefit from this work and research. We can feel confident in our knowledge about building the build right; I am far less sure about our ability to build the right building. Every day you can find impressive examples of communities designing and building yesterday’s hospital. Cost overruns and schedule creep are commonplace. Hospitals cost far too much to build and operate. I’m excited about the opportunity I have to do something about that. As I’ve said before, if you really want to understand something try changing it.
What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the design of healthcare spaces since you won your award, and how has it affected what you do?
The introduction of inappropriate hotel-like features into healthcare design. I’ve been as guilty of that as anyone. I don’t want to see another atrium in a hospital. We have confused the culture and appropriate message between what my friend Len Berry [Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University] calls “want” and “need” facilities. Exciting changes, as a small group of us at The Center stated in “Fable 2.0,” published in The Hastings Center Report, are the growth of evidence-based design, the safety and quality revolution, pay for performance, increasing consumer transparency, sustainability and green design, and access to capital.
What’s on your radar screen in 2016?
I will continue to work with Aditazz, a Silicon Valley start-up whose advisory board I serve on, on the development of software to support hospital design and operational optimization. I also plan on spending a good part of 2016 on the North and South Islands of New Zealand and will continue to enhance my sailing skills and experiences on one of the world’s greatest estuaries, San Francisco Bay.
For more Q+As with past recipients of Healthcare Design’s professional awards programs, check out "Master Class."