An editorial advisory board member tipped us off about a TV show debuting on CBS this month called “Pure Genius,” which focuses on a supercool, seemingly altruistic hospital that’s basically high-tech heaven. I haven’t seen the show—it doesn’t actually premiere until Oct. 27—but the five-minute trailer is fun to watch through the filter of our industry.
The gist is this: A young technology billionaire has opened a hospital that treats patients living with the rarest, most baffling, and most devastating illnesses and conditions out there. The care provided is free, and the attractive, multicultural patients are attended to by an attractive, multicultural team of clinicians.

We see the smooth, curving lines of the hospital architecture; we experience the uplifting interior color scheme and an enormous digital screen in the lobby displaying gently floating jellyfish. Daylighting is everywhere. The founder even monologues about how research shows that patients do better if they can control their environment. It’s all right there in the trailer!

Technology, though, is the real star. There’s a pointed explanation and demonstration of “the wall” in each patient room: a floor-to-ceiling touchscreen that instantly brings up anything and everything relating to that person’s health. A surgeon has on-site access to a 3-D printer that churns out an endless supply of heart models so he can practice an unprecedented procedure over and over until he’s ready for the real thing. A parent is able to describe what she reads directly from her comatose daughter’s cerebral cortex, thanks to some fancy wired helmets.

The enticing thing about this premise, and the way the trailer presents it, is that much of what we’re looking at could be—maybe?—just around the corner. (For the inside scoop on some real-life smart hospitals being built today, see “Getting Smart With Technology.") The staff work spaces and team collaboration areas on the show are especially cool, with transparent screens of all sizes and shapes surrounding the pensive-looking hotties (I mean, “doctors”) as they tap at the floating data and summon records, research articles, and anatomical renderings.

Whether or not the show turns out to be any good, the glimpses of this dreamy built environment and the potential for healthcare’s future are fun to ponder. It’s all about the “what if?” And as we get closer to the 2016 Healthcare Design Expo & Conference, I hope those of you joining us in Houston Nov. 12-15 bring a similar sense of wonder and possibility with you. The educational program and expo hall will be filled with concepts and products to get you thinking. What will the future really look like? In a way…that’s up to you.