In this series, Healthcare design Ask leading healthcare design professionals, companies, and owners to tell us what caught their attention and share some thoughts on the topic.
Brandon King is a senior strategic facility consultant for a construction company Buck, With offices in St. Paul, Minnesota, Madison, Wisconsin, and Omaha, Nebraska, to share his views on unnecessary projects and the safety of medical staff.
- Process improvement as the main service
Architects usually need to promote intensive Lean 3P (people, process, and location) improvement activities at the beginning of many projects. Unbelievable time, energy, and expense have been invested in this work, but after moving in, the owner needs to implement the process and help employees adapt to the operational changes that occurred months or years ago. Healthcare architects have a unique advantage to provide support for the evaluation, measurement, tracking and adjustment of healthcare facility usage, and to resolve process inefficiencies at any stage of the building life cycle. This may mean working with customers in existing facilities to evaluate the actual operating efficiency of the facility outside of the normal design and construction cycle, or to provide access to technologies such as RFID or occupancy trackers, as well as BIM models and construction documents . When a big project is ready to be awarded, healthcare organizations not only need help from the architecture, engineering, and construction communities—they need expertise long before and after.
- Design for empathy, not just productivity
The current challenging labor market highlights the great value of dedicated labor to high-function organizations. This is especially true in the healthcare sector. In the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline workers have dealt with unimaginable conditions and faced increasing burnout rates. There are many reasons for burnout, but one important reason is to feel like listening. It is now more important than ever to balance design work that responds to productivity, metrics, and measurement with those that allow empathy and authenticity. It is shameful to know that the facilities we have created can help inspire peace, recovery and recovery for employees and patients. Taking time to observe the workflow and discuss with employees how they feel (and want to feel) in their space before starting the design work can have a real impact on the daily experience of medical staff and thus the overall performance of the organization.
- Safety: No compromises like fire prevention
Most of the life safety elements required by the regulations, such as fire sprinklers, exit width requirements and flame retardant materials, focus on preventing or slowing the spread of fire, while protecting human life through exits or refuge in place. However, in the past decade, the number of deaths due to violence in medical institutions has been nearly 10 times higher than the number of deaths caused by fires. Despite this tragic loss of life, in terms of safety improvements, such as well-distributed access control, security-enhanced entrances, and secured emergency departments, safety improvements are usually value projects beyond budget, while parking ramps and other The outer area is particularly neglected. Advanced technologies such as gunshot detection, facial recognition threat detection, and RFID tracking of patients and visitors have shown amazing potential as more active response mechanisms. In the final analysis, building codes stipulate life safety requirements, so the regulatory community should devote resources and research to formulate standards and requirements, and regard safety incidents as a real threat to life safety.
- Start strong: time to protect medical staff during the start-up of the facility
Although medical staff may be experts in care delivery and day-to-day operations, they often lack the experience or ability to safely and effectively transition and stabilize new operations in a facility. To make matters worse, in order to meet arbitrary (or political) deadlines, the activation period of the project schedule is usually shortened or cancelled. As project delivery experts, architects and contractors should focus on planning and protecting activation time and budget as in any other major phases of the project. This will ensure that owners can focus on patient care without worrying about medical equipment installation, IT/AV, signage, or new supply and support process adjustments. Since healthcare organizations require employees to do more with less, many project initiation and transition tasks can be offloaded to architects and contractors, allowing frontline employees to free up time for important tasks that only they can accomplish.
- Operational problems looking for facility solutions
Healthcare facility projects are expensive and complex, and even small projects may have disproportionately large costs. Although some projects are indeed needed due to growth, obsolete facilities, or technological advancement, many other projects are actually avoiding process interruptions or political issues. If the role of the architect is to help the client make the right decision, then one approach is to understand and resolve the root cause of the problem-this may not always include the facility project. Sometimes, the correct solution is to modify the process, adjust the communication or directly solve the personnel problem.We must develop the skills to adapt to our creative problem-solving methods, and have the courage to tell our customers when facility projects may be unnecessary, and guide owners through process improvement and change management plans forward Go ahead with expensive facility projects. Not every interaction with a customer needs to be solved by drawing, especially when the demands on healthcare facilities, budgets and staff have never been higher.
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