Last month's Supreme Court decision in favor of the Affordable Care Act once again reinforced the wisdom of the health care industry's emphasis on such priorities as bringing care into the communities, improving operational efficiencies, increasing services to those who have fallen through the cracks of the country's safety net and improving patient satisfaction.
Indeed, those are key motivations behind this month's roster of stories in our Health Facilities Management Design News online newsletter.
For instance, our first feature takes a look at one of the key strategies for bringing care into communities — retail-oriented design. For this article, we've been extremely lucky to work with an author who has been involved in designing retail health care outlets for the Walgreen Co. By isolating six key strategies that architects, interior designers, property executives and facilities managers can apply to their retail operations, the author has brought a unique perspective to the concept of consumer-focused health care environments.
Our next feature looks at operational efficiencies by examining how design can help health care organizations to accommodate the widely disparate ages of their workers. Whether from the Silent Generation, the baby boomers, Generation X or millennials, each age group has its own priorities with regard to technology, equipment and creature comforts. This successful design will meld these priorities into a single unit that will provide for the greatest number of hospital staff.
One can't talk about safety net concerns without mentioning the state of the country's behavioral health care system. Long ignored through cost-cutting and shortsighted priorities, the country's behavioral health patients more and more have turned up in hospitals that were not well-equipped to handle them. Our third feature talks about this challenge and how hospitals and designers are working together to come up with solutions.
Finally, our fourth feature directs attention to patient satisfaction through interviews with vendors about the latest furnishings available for hospitals and other health care facilities. Ergonomics, bariatrics, cleanability and aesthetics are just some of the concerns furniture designers must consider when helping health care facilities to create a more patient-friendly environment. This article tells how they're going about it.
The country's health care providers have traveled a long way since health care reform burst upon the national scene, and the recent Supreme Court decision reinforces the path they've chosen to take with regard to these and other priorities.