Hospital Design – Innovations and Trends in Healthcare Delivery

LPA 600x237Our hospital coverage focuses on innovation in patient and family facilities which uses technology, creativity, and design to enhance a healthy and healing process. We look for innovators like LPA that are bringing new focus on the hospital experience.

Founded in 1965, LPA provides architectural, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, engineering, and graphic/signage services from early program development to project closeout. Located in Southern California, LPA has been designing interior space for 40 years.  The have received over major design 600 awards including the California Council of American Institute of Architects “Firm Award” recognizing more than 25 years of design excellence.

We asked Rick Wood, AIA / LEED AP BD+C to give us his insights into the state of the hospital design platform and the future as they envision it.  Here is his take on what you will see in hospital design.

Box-Gradient_100x100Hospital Design – Innovations and Trends in Healthcare Delivery

Among the many themes and trends in the industry, three core strategies are driving healthcare providers

Rick Wood, AIA / LEED AP BD+C

The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving and ripe for innovative changes. Among the many themes and trends in the industry, three core strategies are driving healthcare providers:

  • Achieving greater efficiencies and cost savings
  • Looking toward other industries and cultures to accomplish innovative breakthroughs
  • Strategies that support healthcare staff with fewer caregivers for every patient

Achieving greater efficiencies and cost savings


Rick Wood, AIA / LEED AP BD+C

As the price of healthcare delivery continues to rise, uncovering cost savings is an ongoing driving force. Hospitals are looking for ways to implement lean strategies in their projects, evaluating more options before concluding that a new building, renovation, or other architectural endeavor is the best solution. When an architectural project is in development, hospitals deliberately identify the true stakeholders necessary for decision-making, as the cost of user group meetings significantly impact budgets.

Designers can aid clients in achieving greater cost savings in a variety of ways. A strategy to select finishes and materials built for durability and longevity that are locally-sourced and environmentally sustainable is a favored strategy by most clients. Members of the project team can design with the hospital’s future interests in mind, avoiding costly changes at a later date. For example, a hospital may build a new wall with only one wall-mounted monitor, but plan to add three monitors within a year. The architect could include seismic support for these future monitors in the current project to save the cost of an additional project later on. Overall, the design and construction team finds ways to be a better financial steward to the hospital and identify opportunities for greater efficiencies.

Box-Gradient_100x100Looking toward other industries and cultures

…to understand how innovative breakthroughs can be accomplished, ways to adapt to changing technology and consumer preferences, and how to identify parallels in other industries…

Healthcare providers are increasingly looking to learn from more progressive industries. Retail is an industry where healthcare providers are emulating successes and finding opportunities for partnership. This includes the integration of easily accessible healthcare services at Target, Costco, and Walgreens and the announced entries by Walmart, Facebook and Amazon.

Incorporating elements of retail, the physical space of a healthcare setting is taking on an outpatient environment consisting of kiosks and self-check-in options. Fully-integrated digital wellness environments have been developed by our firm, LPA, to better reach consumers. For one of our corporate clients, LPA created an in-house corporate wellness center, including spaces for diagnostic, educational, and preventative health.

Providers are finding ways to distribute small touch points with their consumers throughout the community so that, like retail, they can provide value to their consumers throughout their day in a variety of ways. Providers are aiming to access the patient across multiple channels, recognizing the vast number of new ways to provide value to a patient. Healthcare providers are also looking to grow with their consumers over a lifetime, adapting as their preferences change.

Personalizing the patient experience is a strategy which responds to a growing consumer need for an emotional attachment to a brand. In a hospital patient room, this objective may include provisions for personal space and message boards to enable a patient to customize the environment and to develop a deeper connection to the space.

Centinela Hospital Medical Center_Personalized Patient Room_LPA_600x532

Centinela Hospital Medical Center

In the patient rooms at Centinela Hospital Medical Center, LPA created a dedicated patient wall consisting of a white board and shelf space which seamlessly integrate into the design of the room.

Personalizing an individual’s healthcare experience can also include easy access to healthcare providers through multiple channels, including phone apps, texts and e-mail. Healthcare delivery has also focused services on a particular consumer in order to provide personalized healthcare and better relationships with a target market. Healthcare services for women is a perfect model for a successful approach.

The education sector can also provide valuable insights into ways to grow, innovate, and adapt to changing times. As healthcare providers navigate the challenges of implementing technology, education providers must react to technological change as well.

Online coursework, a less expensive alternative to traditional college, is currently creating a disruption in the traditional education system. Similarly, the continuous rise in healthcare costs has brought a wealth of industry disruptors to the forefront, including electronic health records (EHR) and telemedicine.


Engineers properly plan negative pressure for the containment area where construction occurs.

While the implementation of EHR and telemedicine will create greater efficiencies in healthcare delivery, providers face challenges in gaining staff and physician participation, as well as identifying successful target markets which are receptive toward such technology. Similarly, colleges looking to enter the online education market must be able to attract both educators and students who are willing to adopt their new product offerings.

The healthcare industry in the United States can study the breakthroughs and shortcomings in other countries in order to further improve. India is one such culture in which healthcare is delivered more efficiently and successfully than in the U.S., due in part for the country’s need to innovate frugally.

By implementing supply chain strategies such as mass production and lean production, India is able to deliver healthcare, ranging from outpatient to acute, for less than 5% to 10% of U.S. costs (Source: India’s Secret to Low-Cost Health Care, Harvard Business Review, 2013).

India also utilizes a hub-and-spoke strategy to maximize the utilization of their hospitals and costly medical equipment, ensuring that each hub will develop specialties based upon maintaining high patient volumes. While hospitals in the United States aim to consolidate, it is often more of an effort to capture market share than a strategy to lower healthcare costs.

The inability for the United States to adopt a similar hub-and-spoke system could hold the country back from delivering more cost-effective healthcare.

Box-Gradient_100x100Strategies to support healthcare staff

The design staff is mindful of finishes and materials which have easily cleaned textures, visible surfaces, and avoid collecting dust and bacteria. 

An aging population combined with a lower supply of healthcare professionals is driving innovative solutions, design strategies, and policy. When fewer caregivers exist to help a growing number of patients, the healthcare industry must focus on supporting its staff.

Innovative solutions such as the implementation of patient lifts have reduced back-related injuries to staff that would otherwise need to continuously lift and carry immobile patients.

Designers can also address the need to focus on supporting staff through incorporating components such as bariatric considerations and dedicated spaces for a patient’s family, as the family becomes a second caregiving source.

Citrus Valley Medical Center

At Citrus Valley Medical Center in West Covina, LPA’s considerations for the caregiver include two bariatric patient rooms, as well as a patient lift installed in the hallway, allowing patients to learn to walk again after suffering a stroke, loss of limb, or head injury.

To further accommodate bariatric patients at Centinela Hospital Medical Center, LPA has installed patient lifts in several procedure rooms, including Imaging, Nuclear Medicine, Cardiac Catheterization, and X-Ray.

Enhanced infection control measures have become a paramount consideration, and new strategies are evident in healthcare design as well as policy. On every project, the design and construction team undertakes a special responsibility to restrict the transmission of infection, both during the project and after completion.

The design staff is mindful of finishes and materials which have easily cleaned textures, visible surfaces, and avoid collecting dust and bacteria. Engineers properly plan negative pressure for the containment area where construction occurs. Lastly, the construction team minimizes infection control through using proper containment barriers, maintaining diligent air quality records, and collaborating closely with hospital staff.

The above article, by Rick Wood AIA / LEED AP BD+C has been edited and modified to fit the parameters of Innov8Med.
By Dan Charobee, MBA


Comments Are Closed
%d bloggers like this: