Although it can be easy to lose track of this fact through the many layers of planning, meetings, and ultimately hospital construction, people, including patients and their families, are the reason that hospitals are built.
A hospital is a community service and more and more administrators and contractors are really taking this to heart by including community input and feedback as an important part of the design process.
Start with Patients in Mind
A hospital has many stakeholders - from administrators to physicians to the designers of a new space. But most important is how the hospital is able to serve its patients. Indeed, patient experience should be top of mind through every part of the hospital design process. In one of the most lauded examples of community involvement in the hospital planning process, the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital in Texas had community involvement from the very beginning, inviting key community members to be part of the planning committee.
Listen Before You Plan
While community participation in the planning phase is not entirely new, the way that the Texas team worked was certainly unique. Although architects, of course, were integral to the process, they were instructed to listen to patient and healthcare worker needs before they began any of the design process.
Listening to the needs of the actual healthcare consumer should not be novel, but in many projects it is. It is too easy for very real concerns about comfort and efficacy to be brushed aside in the name of dazzling design or budgetary constraints. As a contractor, being able to take these patient concerns and turn them into a viable structure is key in creating a hospital that actually works for the community it is designed to serve.
Don’t Stop with Planning
For a project to fully integrate the community into the hospital design process, input cannot simply end with the planning phase. The Clements Hospital project not only expanded their planning committee to include community stakeholders, but once a completed version of the design was done, those committee members in addition to more than 500 physicians, nurses, staff members and other community influencers were able to review the plans before they started building.
As a hospital construction contractor, you may not be part of the entire community engagement process, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take community involvement to heart. By working with designs that are patient focused, you can help to contribute to hospitals that serve the community as effectively as possible and can build your business in the process.
For more information on the William P. Clements, Jr. Hospital project, be sure to check out the thorough accounting from the Harvard Business Review.