Highlighting Healthcare Facilities That Go Beyond Functionality

Starting this month, Healthcare Design kicks off a new Design Outlook column that focuses on the future of healthcare design through the lens of in-progress projects.

Our goal is to showcase developing work that represents new and innovative planning, architecture, and interior design solutions in response to the trends, challenges, and expectations tied to healthcare design moving forward. This column on the back page will feature a Q+A with a project lead on design specifics as well as thoughts on big-picture trends and where the industry is heading.

Design Outlook column showcases innovation

Our inaugural article features a Q+A with Bill Wolpert at E4H Architecture, who discusses the Fair Haven Community Health Care clinic in Fair Haven, Conn. Scheduled to open in early 2025, this new health center will integrate healthcare and wellness services while aiming to become a vibrant hub where residents can come together for medical, behavioral health, and community-driven activities, helping to fill a void in the neighborhood, Wolpert says.

Healthcare spaces that foster connections

The idea of bringing people together and fostering connections within healthcare spaces emerges in several projects featured in this issue as well. And while the healthcare sector has long focused on using design to improve engagement between patients and clinicians, today’s efforts are going beyond that scope to benefit employees and communities at large.

Scrolling through this issue, you’ll find Children’s Hospital Colorado’s expanded staff lounge in Aurora, Colo., that’s designed to make it easier for colleagues to collaborate or have one-on-one conversations. Essentia Health’s new medical center in Duluth, Minn., features a main street corridor replete with amenity spaces such as a chapel, café, and conference center for staff, patients, and the public.

These welcoming spaces not only support efforts to improve the healing environment, but they can also play a role in addressing growing issues associated with disconnection in our country. Less than a year ago, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Surgeon General Advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection and its impact on mental and physical health, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and developing dementia.

In a section titled “Mobilize the Health Sector,” the report outlines the need to integrate social connection into primary-, secondary-, and tertiary-level prevention and care efforts to help prevent or mitigate forms of social disconnection as well as provide support for those already experiencing such challenges.

As healthcare facilities continue to strive to become centers of health and wellness within their communities, I look forward to seeing the new approaches and strategies project teams deliver to further this important effort.


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