Because today’s healthcare market is changing
so rapidly, speakers at the Health Care Institute’s Healthcare
Real Estate conference on June 8 in Washington, D.C., emphasized
the importance of flexibility and innovation in today’s facility
In a presentation on repurposing buildings for healthcare,
Andrea Hyde, director – space, project and construction planning
for LifeBridge Health, drove home the point that flexibility is
crucial for today’s projects.
"Think about what hospitals were built for—helping the sick—and
where we're heading—a focus on wellness. They're not really
congruent," she commented.
Hyde also pointed to trends that have quickly fallen by the
wayside. "In any article from 10 years ago, you heard that you
had to make your hospital look like a hotel,” she said. The
result, she added, was that CEOs were reaching to put features
into their facilities that were well outside of what they needed
or could afford. They were sold on finishes, for example, that
were aesthetically pleasing but couldn’t sustain the intensive
cleaning required in a healthcare setting.
Hyde’s description of renovating a building constructed in
1992—working around massive reinforced concrete columns,
problematic atriums, challenging air distribution and the
like—further drove home the point that to adapt to future needs,
healthcare systems need to focus on solutions that allow for
simple adaptation to tomorrow’s trends.
Manufacturers are meeting demands for flexibility
Manufacturers are responding to this need for
flexibility with solutions such as more cost-effective modular
walls, vacuum plumbing systems, and raised flooring, Hyde added.
These types of innovations are helping make “rigid” existing
buildings simpler to adapt to today’s needs.
In a later presentation on reimagining outpatient
care facilities for the future, Tracy Bond of SmithGroup
JJRagreed that flexibility helps ensure efficiency over the long
term. Modular building solutions are gaining traction as a
solution for boosting construction flexibility.
Bond explained that using a “plug and play”
kit of parts can save significant time in design and
construction, and promote ease in future changes. Using
prefabricated, modular solutions across a campus or brand also
can ensure a healthcare system is providing the same level of
care across board.
David Parrish of DIRTT Environmental Solutions added that
vendors such as DIRRT are providing more vendor neutral
solutions to help facilities professionals add modular solutions
for engineered systems.
Designers and contractors explore innovative strategies
In a case study on VCU Health System’s complex
OR renovation, speakers emphasized the benefits of a flexible
and innovative approach in construction. The team was charged
with renovating the OR space while keeping 14 ORs running at all
times and seeing no loss of revenue. To meet these challenges,
the project took what speaker’s called an “IPD Lite” approach,
in which contractors were brought on early but still operated
using traditional contracts. It’s a method gaining increasing
traction on healthcare projects, the speakers noted.
“VCU really signed on for this IPD Lite because this project
impacted one of their most revenue-impacting floors—the ORs,”
commented Mike Fievet of JLL, owner’s rep for VCU. “They had
from day one mindset of let's bring as many partners as needed
Eric Rasmussen, project director for DPR
Construction, noted that it proved hugely beneficial to have an
MEP partner onboard early to conduct an investigation into air
flow and various additions that had been made to the facility
since the 1970s.
The team operated using a “big room” concept, in which all
parties planned together in one room onsite. This helped start
relationships at the beginning of job and improved communication
across the board. The project also applied lean concepts through
a one-model approach, which helped reduce changes later in the
Fievet noted that in future projects, he hoped to use the big
room concept more fully and bring more people into the project
early on. Rasmussen agreed that bringing OR integration
professionals early on could have been a bigger time-saver.
Fievet also attributed the project’s success to early planning,
as well as "getting the right team onboard from Day One, and
getting them in the mindset that we're all one project team."
When issues arose, the focus wasn’t on assigning blame but on
creating solutions. This flexibility helped the project team to
overcome a number of challenges and successfully achieve goals
set out by the owner.
key takeaways from this event.
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