Medical Real Estate

By Thomas Crocker
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Research Into Healthcare Green Space Blossoms

Research into the use and potential benefits of green space at healthcare facilities is accelerating, according to writer Melissa Piatkowski. In an article for Health Facilities Management, she highlights several recent studies. Among the findings:

  • Common garden elements can either support or hamper access to green space for patients; for instance, a lack of shade or seating could deter some patients.
  • Gardens can play an important role in helping patients temporarily escape from medical stressors.
  • Physiological responses to different types of gardens vary based on culture, sex and unique biological traits.

“As more healthcare facilities continue to incorporate green space into their projects, more research is needed to understand the ways in which evidence-based landscape design can make a difference for patients, families, staff and local communities,” Piatkowski writes.

Health System Benefits From Prefabrication in New Construction

Using prefabricated materials in healthcare building projects can increase efficiency and reduce construction time. That was the experience of Illinois health system Advocate Health Care, which incorporated prefabrication in the construction of a new tower at one of its campuses, according to writer Joan L. Suchomel in an article for Health Facilities Management.

“Historically, Advocate had utilized a system of room standards to gain operational efficiencies and to standardize nursing protocols. The next evolution for Advocate was leveraging this knowledge with a modular or prefabricated room based on their room standards,” Suchomel writes.

Prefabricating the tower’s 88 patient bathrooms allowed Advocate to build more efficiently, using fewer materials and workers. It reduced the overall construction time by 10 weeks, according to Suchomel.

Students Envision the Exam Room of the Future

A group of University of Miami architecture students designed and built a mock-up of a high-tech exam room, according to an article published by Health Facilities Management. Jamie Morgan writes that the room is equipped with Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, in one of its walls. The interactive wall can:

  • Answer a patient’s health-related queries
  • Display stress-reducing images and information about the patient’s physician
  • Provide the physician a summary of the patient’s case

Deborah Franqui, PhD, AIA, NCARB, Coordinator of Health Care Design Programs at the university and an advisor on the project, was quoted as saying the wall is “clean and organized and can actually help the patient, so it reduces patient anxiety and stress. It’s what I call productive waiting.”