What is the Hospital of the Future?
Already, this new decade is promising some significant changes to life as we know it – and never before has the promise of positive change run truer than within the global healthcare industry, which is just now beginning to find its feet following the global Covid-19 crisis of 2020.
Read about just a few of the most significant changes we can expect to see within hospitals around the world going forward.
One that Prioritises Fewer Personnel
The pandemic has meant that once disparate sectors are united by the emphasis they have been forced to place on a number of key areas, such as advanced hygiene practices and, wherever possible, downsizing the number of personnel working in any given area – even if it is highly inconvenient to do so.
In the healthcare industry, when it came to mitigating the number of people working in close proximity to one another, one of the most significant areas was the operating room, where the potential risks of infection or contamination from additional bodies is higher than almost any other area.
Devices such as the self-retaining surgical retractor by June Medical – for which one of the most notable developments made upon the self-retaining design of the Lone Star retractors is single-handed adjustments – ensure that surgeons will find it much easier to downsize additional presence within the OR, and embrace a future in which close contact is mitigated wherever possible.
Adaptations for Age
While the past twelve months may have cast a potentially bleak outlook for many, we have inarguably turned a significant corner in recent months and are once again able to look ahead to a future unmarred (or, at least, not to the same extent) by the Covid-19 virus.
Beyond this single health emergency, the picture is entirely different. Around the world – from Japan to the UK – average life expectancies are growing longer, with the life expectancy of those living within the UK growing by 65% since the turn of the century.
As a result, hospitals across the globe must learn to adapt in order to cater to older populations, whose needs will be far different – and, by and large, their expectations, too.
Architectural Modifications for Better Infection Control
While there is a light at the end of the tunnel with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, some have already warned that our modern way of life – and, of course, environmental changes – mean that global health crises such as this one are all too likely to grow increasingly common as the years go by.
As a result, the hospital of the future will need to be safeguarded against worst case scenarios. While many healthcare facilities performed admirably during the height of the pandemic, segregating Covid-19 care from other units of the hospital was incredibly difficult.
Architectural constrains meant that dedicated units were never as far from vulnerable patients as doctors and nurses would have hoped, and in order to avoid history repeating itself, architects of the future will need to remain keenly aware of the challenges posed by potential infectious crises.