Innovations in healthcare facility design – What owners need to know?


Keep up with the latest innovations in facility design to attract patients, improve care, and remain competitive. Greg Appelt, CEO of Appelt Properties, a leading healthcare real estate development firm, provides his insights on some of the key innovations shaping healthcare facility design today.

Today’s healthcare consumers have high expectations when it comes to their experience at healthcare facilities. They want conveniences, amenities, and a welcoming environment similar to what they find in hotels and retail spaces. Facility design innovations like self-check-in kiosks, comfortable waiting areas with WiFi and entertainment options, retail spaces, and spa-like decor help provide an enhanced patient experience. Appelt notes that creating a “patient-centric environment” is a top priority for his healthcare facility clients today.

Incorporating flexible design elements

Given the fast pace of change in healthcare, facilities need design elements that can readily adapt to new technologies, workflows, and patient preferences. Modular walls, mobile technology stations, and universal room designs allow spaces to be reconfigured as needed. Appelt advises owners to build in flexibility wherever possible to extend the functional life of the facility. greg appelt company employs design strategies like modular construction techniques to create more adaptable spaces.

Focusing on operational efficiency

With pressures to reduce costs and improve productivity, healthcare facilities need designs that improve efficiency for staff and physicians. Innovations like decentralized nursing stations, standardized room layouts, optimized floorplans, and technology integrations can help make operations more efficient. Appelt works closely with healthcare providers to understand their workflows and design facilities to maximize operational efficiency. Facility owners are now focused on innovations like antimicrobial building materials, touchless technologies, air quality improvements, and entryway sanitation stations. Appelt Properties utilizes design strategies like compartmentalization zones, UV sterilization, and HEPA filtration to help control the spread of infections.

Incorporating evidence-based design

Evidence-based design uses research to guide design decisions that improve patient outcomes, safety, and satisfaction scores. For example, studies show access to natural light improves recovery times and medication compliance. Facilities designed with ample natural light, soothing colors, meditative spaces, and other evidence-based elements help enhance the patient experience. Appelt’s design teams stay up-to-date on evidence-based design innovations to incorporate in their healthcare projects.

Transitioning to smart technologies 

From telehealth stations to real-time locating systems to robotics, smart technologies are transforming healthcare facilities. Owners investing in major renovations or new construction are wise to ensure the facility accommodates emerging smart technologies. This may involve pre-wiring for in-room telehealth carts, planning spaces for AI assistance, and installing infrastructure to support technologies like asset-tracking sensors. Appelt Properties works with tech providers to plan for smooth integration of the latest smart technologies.

Focusing on safety and security

Patient and employee safety has always been paramount for healthcare facilities, but innovations are taking safety and security to higher levels. Biometric entry systems, real-time video monitoring, wandering prevention sensors for dementia patients, and integrated emergency response systems help keep people safe. Appelt incorporates multilayered safety and security innovations tailored to the specific needs of each facility.

Sustainability is now a priority across healthcare. Eco-friendly design innovations include renewable energy systems, native landscaping, stormwater reclamation, passive solar orientation, and waste reduction features. Healthcare projects designed for LEED certification exemplify many of these sustainable design strategies. Appelt Properties utilizes eco-friendly design to help their healthcare clients reduce energy costs and meet their sustainability goals.

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