Flexible Design for Future Innovations

flexible designRobotic surgery, imaging tools, digital communications—new technologies and protocols are transforming how medicine is practiced and delivered. These advances mean that Packard Children’s new design must be able to accommodate current changes and be flexible enough to adapt to more innovations as they arrive.

“The rapid transformation of health care is changing the face of health care facilities,” says George Tingwald, MD, a licensed architect and director of medical planning. “We need to incorporate advanced medical practices and technology, as well as patient privacy, safety for patients and staff, healing environments, operational efficiency, and family-centered care.”

Though it’s easy to get lost in the possibilities of the technology, Tingwald says it’s less about futuristic bells and whistles and more about fostering more personal and proactive care for patients and their families.

“When you plan for change, you plan for what isn’t going to change,” he says. “Supporting patients and families, making the experience as simple as possible, clarity of access to the building, ease of parking, accommodations in every patient room for families to sleep over—these need the least amount of flexibility. But in more highly technical areas, where you know there will be changes, that’s where you provide the flexibility.”

Because Packard Children’s is part of an academic medical center, it is an active partner in translational medicine, where insights in a research laboratory can be rapidly transferred to patient care. Adaptable design will also help to streamline this bench-to-bedside approach.

“By focusing on the underlying issues rather than on specific current technologies, the design will be able to serve the community for decades,” says Tingwald. “That way we can ensure that the most advanced treatments and technologies will be available here first.”


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