Whether you're interested in building a single doctor's office or an entire hospital complex, many of the best design practices for medical construction remain the same. With demand for quality care growing while profits are steadily shrinking, new medical buildings require more attention than ever during the design process to achieve all of their intended goals.
Keep these five design features or concepts in mind while drafting up plans for your medical construction project. These features could help the structure and its systems go longer than expected before needing a major overhaul.
While layout is essential for all commercial designs, it can become a matter of life and death in a hospital or other large clinic. Even in facilities without emergency rooms, a medical emergency can always occur unexpectedly during a routine appointment.
Your layout should locate related departments near each other, design multiple paths of access for essential services, and minimize unnecessary open space.
With careful design, you can also minimize resources and improve the future patient's experience. For example, shared reception areas for multiple departments can give you more floor space for exam rooms and other valuable uses.
When static signage was the only option for medical facilities, signs were a detail that could wait until the last rounds of finishing in the space. But with the arrival of digital signage that requires both the input of power and data, you should consider your signage location during the initial design stage.
Digital signage offers the following benefits in the medical setting:
- Immediate changes to redirect traffic flow around a problem area or update patients on their wait time.
- Interactive features to help visitors get the information they need without finding an employee.
- Internal communication between departments, such as signage that updates the recovery unit on surgeries in progress.
Digital signage is worth the extra effort during the design process.
Layout and design plays a large role in how easy it is to clean and sanitize a medical structure. However, your materials selections for the surfaces also play a rival role.
Medical sanitizing processes often require high heat, steam, and harsh chemicals. Your facility needs the toughest possible surfaces that are as non-porous as possible.
Don't just stop at finding the right flooring and wall coverings either. In areas like operating rooms and infectious disease wards, you'll want ceiling surfaces that can be sanitized in case of a serious emergency or outbreak.
As profit margins drop over all medical fields and organization types, administrators and hospital boards are looking for new ways to lower operating costs without sacrificing any service quality. Designing hospitals and clinics to maximize their energy efficiency reduces the cost of operation for the entire lifespan of the building.
Some energy efficient design options will raise the cost of construction, but others barely impact the price at all. Careful choices keep your constructions costs manageable so you don't have to wait so long for the ongoing energy savings to pay back the initial investment.
Telemedicine, or remote healthcare services, is more than just a trend now. Some industry experts predict it will someday serve as the primary form of medicine. Consider designing your new facilities around the technology - from setting aside exam rooms for video services to wiring for high-speed connections for mobile carts.
You have many options for designing with telemedicine in mind without sacrificing any of the essential non-digital services you'll need today.
Medical construction requires customization, and our design build services here at Cochran Construction Company can help you create exactly the space you need. Reach out to us today to start planning your new project or to find out more about how we can help.