Main image: Telemedicine and integrated digital healthcare services will continue to play a crucial role in delivering care to all.
2020 was a disruptive year, especially in the healthcare industry. This industry maintains its foundation as a healthy environment that supports patient healing, but how that will look in the future has never been more disrupted. Industry research is driving change, not just in design but also in what a healthcare facility offers.
Armstrong Flooring in a continued partnership with research firm WGSN, has put out a report to identify how and why disruptions are impacting healthcare.
Let’s look at ideas that will possibly disrupt and change the healthcare industry:
The United States today, for instance, has the most racially diverse youth generation to date. The US Censure Bureau predicts that by 2044 white will be a minority, a shift that will have a large impact on the health and medical industries. Similar to Southern Africa. As a result, retail healthcare is emerging as a means of delivering quality and convenient care to millions of consumers, as well as a model for the healthcare system to consider when providing services to everyone.
By placing a healthcare service centre inside a grocery store or the mall, healthcare is brought to a more convenient and approachable location. We have seen this played out in South Africa through numerous service providers. This service creates an opportunity to make encouraging healthy behaviour easier and more approachable. It repositions medical services to focus on healthy lifestyles and provides an experience that feels more comfortable.
Technology to play a crucial role
With increased accessibility to the internet and technology, telemedicine and integrated digital healthcare services will continue to play a crucial role in delivering care to all types of patients and in protecting healthcare staff.
NewLNQ mobile apps provides real-time doctor and clinic availability, offers location-based suggestions for the nearest clinic and earliest available doctor, and confirms booking appointments. This type of hyper-personalised service for every individual, based on an individual’s profile and needs, is not only convenient and can reach more people, it also encourages customised check-ups and services.
The designing of healthcare spaces and their ability to be transformational and adaptable will become even more prevalent as businesses aim to do more with the same amount of space.
Reading and understanding space can be a powerful tool to orient healthcare workers within unfamiliar and rapidly changing medical spaces. One major shift is the change in focus from individual patient care to unit care, creating caregiving processes that place a heavy reliance on the transitional and public spaces between units. This means enforcing proper communication control protocols in hallways and key thresholds, with entries into units possibly becoming as important as the patient rooms themselves. Using visual cues in design helps to accomplish this.
Spiritual rejuvenation and restoration
The wellness industry is booming with various reasons for the increase, including a global rise in anxiety, work burnout, constant connectivity and the rise of the experience economy. All these behavioural shifts are driving the wellness boom in different regions, and aspects of it are becoming more accepted and integrated with healthcare spaces.
Trust in healthcare – pharmaceutical companies in particular – is on the decline. There is widespread opinion that medical professionals and pharmaceutical companies place profit over people, and it’s this mistrust that is challenging the norm.
This has led to preventative care with alternative medicine and mindfulness taking centre stage. For example, acupuncture, yoga and Reiki are now viewed by many as effective, acceptable alternative practices that can from part of professional care during a hospital stay.
Out with traditional healthcare spaces and in with comfort and hospitality. To help make anxious patients feel comfortable, healthcare spaces are creating reassuring and welcoming environments by adding homely touches to make these spaces feel more residential. Creating communal areas will enable patients to support each other during treatments. This includes ideas like communal dining and kitchens where patients can interact, or intentional design that conceals medical equipment from open view.