Take with Shawn Janus 5

In this series, Healthcare design Ask leading healthcare design professionals, companies, and owners to tell us what caught their attention and share some thoughts on the topic.

Shawn Janus, Director of National Healthcare Services Gao Li Real Estate Services (Chicago) shared his views on how healthcare design has changed due to COVID-19 and how flexibility, air quality, technology, and supply chain play a role.

  1. Pandemic shots

Like everything else, healthcare design is also affected by the pandemic. Traditional concepts of healthcare facilities are being re-examined through new perspectives—social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), storage, space utilization, ventilation—the list seems endless. They are also studying the design of the facility, including the entrance and exit of the facility, by increasing the traffic flow from the entrance, waiting room to the exit, creating less invasive visits for patients who are concerned about exposure to COVID-19 and other diseases. In addition, with the recent vigorous development of telemedicine services, the space supporting administrative functions is being reimagined by using mobile registration services to reduce the demand for facility lobby space and to find remote office space for telemedicine workers.


  1. flexibility

Suppliers cannot afford to build facilities that can predict every possible outage. Instead, they need to consider designing solutions in order to respond flexibly to fluid and changing dynamics. The ability to isolate rooms/floors/wings, redesign separate entrances for infected persons, and convert rooms from single occupancy to double occupancy are just some of the options being considered and implemented. The use of prefabricated modular structures as a low-cost alternative to surge conditions is another example. The goal is to develop flexible layouts to minimize exposure, prevent shortages of personal protective equipment, and solve mobility issues in a rapidly changing environment.


  1. air quality

Prior to COVID-19, the integration of barrier-free outdoor spaces has always been a trend, and this trend will only accelerate due to the pandemic. Courtyards, healing gardens and roof terraces are being incorporated into many design elements. Prioritizing these green spaces can solve the problem of social distancing and provide a safe way to help reduce the spread of the virus. In the internal environment, the ventilation system uses an advanced filter system design, which can also track the airflow in a specific area to minimize the risk of infection.


  1. technology

Telemedicine platforms have been around for a long time, but the difference in reimbursement between face-to-face and telemedicine visits has prevented widespread adoption. When the reimbursement guidelines were temporarily changed during the pandemic to allow telemedicine to be reimbursed face-to-face, the use of telemedicine skyrocketed. What reimbursement will look like after the pandemic remains to be seen, but it is expected that telemedicine will continue to play a more prominent role. Virtual dating also affects the design of the physical environment. For example, allowing patients to register virtually can reduce the size of waiting rooms. The facility can also be designed as an external entrance to the examination room, which may affect the size of the hall and corridors.


  1. Supply storage

The pandemic also emphasized the need for healthcare organizations to support the supply chain from product inventory to transaction management. In terms of products, 3D printing is evolving as an alternative to expanding the supply of PPE, which helps offset potential shortages and serves as an alternative production method. In order to solve the storage problem, prefabricated modular building units with lower labor intensity and lower construction costs can also be used for storage capacity, enabling suppliers to take inventory of their products.


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