It’s my first day. I introduce myself...
‘You’re not about to, after 6 years of medicine, switch training to do another nine in architecture, are you?!
There is method to my madness. Promise.
Successful healthcare delivery requires more than competent and knowledgeable health professionals effectively treating patients. It is a whole system, a complex melange of processes and pathways with a great number of external influences such as economics and politics.
Fundamental to this mix is the environment.
Healthcare settings should feel nice, look nice and work.
I have spent the last three years on placement rotating around various hospitals in the South West. Overall, the health professionals have been experienced, dedicated and efficient at what they do, and there is no doubt that the health service in the UK is good.
However, it is not watertight.
From my experience, problems in healthcare delivery are due to: lack of time, lack of communication, lack of beds or temperamental technology. These problems are exacerbated when the environment is inefficient: poor patient flow blocks beds; noise pollution hinders communication; equipment in the wrong place wastes time… I could go on.
As a future doctor, I wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn how hospital design could improve how I deliver healthcare. I wanted to learn the art of patient flow and patient experience. This is why I am here. Who better to learn from than the experts and award winners in healthcare architecture?!
It has been a busy few days at TP Bennett LLP but I have learned loads, far more than I can explain in a few hundred words- it is all a lot more complex than Sims 4 ‘Build your own Hospital or Police Station’ (!).
I have learned about cultural influences on healthcare design in Africa, about the process and stages involved in designing healthcare settings in general and I have visited a site for a new state of the art private orthopaedic clinic… I never realised the complexity and shear amount of thought to the tiniest detail that is behind every room that is built. Did you know that an underground tube can affect the function of an MRI scanner as it passes nearby? (An MRI scanner that will require the road to be closed whilst it is CRANED over and then wheeled into its new home…!)
As healthcare provision continues to develop and change, the settings we deliver healthcare have to change too. Medics and architects are at the forefront of this process. A hospital may be beautiful, perfectly designed and comply with the strict regulations but this is inadequate if clinicians feel as if though they cannot deliver care as they have been trained. It is a collaboration.
TP Bennett LLP understands this, but it works both ways. Perhaps if medics understood more about hospital design, we could be proactive at improving efficiency in healthcare delivery. Perhaps more medics should spend a few days in an architecture firm? There is method to my madness.