Looking for the latest trends in medical construction and design?
Read our blog to discover some of the top healthcare and hospital construction design trends.
Note: With COVID’s impact, trends like infection-proof flooring, and new HVAC protocols have come into focus. Follow us for updates as we continue to track and report on COVID-related trends as well.
What are the top trends in medical construction and design?
1. An Emphasis On Appearance
2. Adaptable Spaces
3. Smart Building Materials
4. Smart Lighting
5. Use of Nature
6. Telemedicine influenced space allocation
7. Private Waiting Areas
10. Customized patient care facilities
The hospitals of old aren’t exactly famous for their comfort or their aesthetically pleasing appearance.
However, as technology advances and generations begin to live longer, we’re seeing distinct changes in medical facility construction and design to accommodate new needs.
New focuses on sustainability, comfort and aesthetics are becoming the new normal as we change the way we view hospital design.
Here are some of the top healthcare construction and design trends you can expect to see in in the near future.
#1 – An Emphasis On Appearance
Often undervalued in older designs, the interior and exterior of hospitals can have tangible effects on patients.
When a hospital feels too “institutional” or “clinical” patients are more likely to feel anxious and upset to be there, which can negatively impact their healing.
Studies have shown that the appearance of a medical facility can have a dramatic effect on the patients, the visitors, and the staff which is why newer hospitals are paying particular attention to the general aesthetics of each space.
#2 – Adaptable Spaces
Adaptability is key as it allows you to make the most out of the space you have available, limits the needs for patient transport, and helps the patient feel more comfortable in their space.
Creating patient rooms that can also function as operating rooms is a perfect example of ideal adaptability.
The implementation of multi-use furniture (sleeper sofas, convertible bedside tables, etc.) is another technique that hospitals have recently begun to incorporate as it better accommodates family members who are visiting a patient.
This helps visitor and patient morale, while also helping the hospital save space.
#3 – Smart Building Materials
When choosing the design and construction of medical practices, you have an opportunity to pick all of the materials that will be used.
Obviously, hygiene is a top priority, but that doesn’t mean you have to go for the harsh metal and beige combo that so many hospitals have used in the past.
The use of materials like bamboo for surfaces or flooring and Copper for door handles adds a touch of warmth to patient rooms and waiting areas.
Copper has natural antibacterial properties that make it a useful tool to help stop the spread of dangerous diseases like E. Coli while still being durable.
The use of bamboo is another long-lasting option that is both sustainable and easy to clean while being visually pleasing to look at.
#4 – Smart Lighting
More and more healthcare construction companies are utilizing indirect lighting in their designs to put patients at ease. Not only is it more aesthetically pleasing, but it is a better option for people with light sensitivity as it better simulates natural light.
Some hospitals even use dimmable lights or multiple light sources to give patients control in their own rooms. This way if a patient is sleeping, for example, and their visitor wants to stay up and read, they can without disturbing each other.
UV lights are another tool that is being used to help maintain higher standards of cleanliness.
The UV light helps kill off bacteria so that patient areas (and even staff areas) stay more sanitary to help prevent the spread of harmful bugs that could spread to other patients.
#5 – Nature
Probably one of the most noticeable trends of 2020 has been the integration of nature in medical spaces.
Bio areas, nature-themed artwork, and large windows to let in natural light are helping patients feel more at ease, but they are also helping the healthcare workers who spend so much of their time at these facilities.
Having this connection to nature allows people to feel less trapped and can help ward off issues like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as the seasons change.
#6 – Telemedicine
The use of virtual visits are quickly becoming a norm wherein healthcare workers can meet with patients online instead of requiring patients to come into the physical hospital.
This helps relieve crowded waiting rooms, puts patients more at ease, and helps save time for everybody.
The ability for patients to connect with their doctors without having to actually travel to a physical location helps to ensure that a medical facility can better focus on their long-term patients and reduces hospital crowding.
#7 – Private Waiting Areas
It’s not just the patient rooms that are getting upgraded in 2020. The use of high-backed chairs, more spread out seating, and multiple sitting areas allows visitors to feel more comfortable while they’re waiting.
It gives much-appreciated privacy to visitors to help reduce anxiety and ensure comfort for those who have to wait for long periods of time.
These sitting areas are often even equipped with charging stations so that family members can have continued access to their devices as they wait.
#8 – Sustainability
The world is changing, which is leading the healthcare industry to change how it views their facilities.
Using eco-friendly materials is becoming more common during the construction phase, but finding ways to conserve water and power in a building as large as a hospital is also important.
#9 – Wayfinding
Older hospital designs are notoriously difficult to navigate. It can be difficult for visitors and patients to identify what area of the hospital they are in let alone how to get from one area to another.
Maps and proper signage help with this, but the use of colors can be another—more subtle—way of separating areas.
Many new hospitals are painting the walls differently for each area, using different floor materials, or even using themes to help visitors easily identify where they are.
#10 – Customized Patient Care Facilities
An emphasis on personalization is becoming common in both hospital design and treatment.
Hospitals have begun to plan their design to partially reflect their region to make the space more inviting and comfortable.
Using ocean imagery for coastal facilities is just one example of adapting hospital design to showcase that region.
Going beyond aesthetics, many hospitals have also begun offering regional food options so that patients have something familiar they can enjoy.
By offering customized food options or taking time to note each patient’s favorite food items, hospitals are able to put patients more at ease, especially in long-term care.
We hope you enjoyed our blog on top medical construction and design trends.
While we could only touch on a few of the emerging trends, new developments like COVID-19 are impacting this space in real time.
We’ll continue to update this blog as things progress.
To find projects that exemplify some of the trends discussed in this blog, we invite you to consider a free trial to the MedicalConstructionData medical construction lead service.
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