As the Children’s Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Colorado has recently discovered, being a technologically advanced facility doesn’t mean you have to take a high-tech approach to your design elements. In fact, just the opposite is true at this pediatric hospital, where the most important goal is creating a nurturing environment that can help young patients to heal so they can go home faster.
The way the Children’s Hospital makes this happen is by blending the latest technology and evidence-based design to create a warm setting that not only treats patients’ bodies but also eases their minds. While just a few years ago the concepts of technology and a nurturing environment might have seemed at odds with one another, the latest design approaches provide a junction for both sides to come together.
With this in mind, the Anschutz Medical Campus couples child-friendly design elements with significant investments in IT capabilities, including electronic medical records to enhance communication and treatment, state-of-the art imaging equipment to improve diagnostic processes, and flat-screen television sets, internet access, movies-on-demand, and online games in every patient room to keep young patients and their families engaged and entertained. There’s also a high-tech security system to keep patient safety on the forefront.
While these and other examples of technology at Anschutz are all about connecting patients and clinical staff to essential resources and information, the interior design of the facility is about connecting to nature. This translates into bringing the outdoors in by spotlighting scenery in the hallways and public areas. Think skylights, large windows that frame the scenic setting, children’s artwork, and soundproofing in the floors and ceiling, along with a no-paging policy, to keep distractions to a minimum.
The combination of unusual ingredients comes together to achieve an appealing blend of high-tech benefits in a “low-tech” setting.
Of course this hospital is only one of many across the nation that are finding ways to incorporate state-of-the-art technology while putting the patient first — and making them feel more comfortable in an inpatient setting. As technology continues to evolve and offer new, and improved, connections to improve patient health and wellbeing, hospitals will need to continue reevaluating their design plans and finding innovative ways to integrate the latest IT developments in order to offer increasingly personalized care and treatment. As Anschutz’s example demonstrates, when organizations find the right mix of home-like features and high-tech tools, the patients will truly experience the best of both worlds.