A good hospital design proves to be a great business venture

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Infrastructure planning is an important aspect for any hospital business to be sustainable. Ravindra Burse, Director, PS3 Engineering & Construction Services, talks about how infrastructure planning proves to be of business sense

How do you see the hospital infrastructure space changing with time?

Hospital infrastructure has gone through significant changes with time. The trend of hospitals taking design cues from luxurious facilities like five-star hotels etc., has now changed. The focus today is on sustainability, adaptability and flexibility.

From public hospitals to expensive modern hospitals, need of cost-effective designs have become an utmost necessity to provide benefits of quality and cost together to the patients. Operational efficiency and energy efficiency are the key factors in new designs.

With increased load, elimination of human error is one of the major challenges healthcare industry is facing. Automation and standardisation in design concept plays an important role to address this issue.

The major investment in any hospital project is procurement of medical equipment and machines. Considering the specific requirement, location and prime need of the equipment, more precise analysis with the help of the consultant need to be carried out to provide a cost-effective solution.

‘Green Hospital’ concept, which gives sustainable designs specifically for hospitals, is the need of future engineering.

Healthcare being the most rapidly increasing sector in India, investors are keen for the long-run operation of hospitals. Thus, the concept of hospitals nowadays has changed to smart, future ready and sustainable with low operational cost.

What are the new designs that hospitals these days are looking for?

Many of the upcoming hospitals are planning to make their facility a good, positive and vibrant environment for the patients, staff and doctors. Good architecture or interior design is given maximum importance. Colourful rooms, attractive frame and wall work keeps the patient in a positive mood and relaxed for faster recovery. The hospitals have to radiate positive energy.

Persistent sound and noise around the ward can disturb the patient and increase fatigue, hence maintaining a certain dB level is imperative. Also, the patient’s room should provide maximum visibility with large glass windows, transparent ceiling in open wards, monitoring with CCTV camera and surveillance. This will allow maximum visibility of the patient without disturbance.

Nowadays, this design is achieved by using low noise, quiet equipment and quiet utilities with private rooms and insulated partitions.

Large glass windows for natural light and view, a larger room can also include  required space for family members, which will encourage family involvement and provide additional comfort to the patient.

Due to modern trend of multispeciality hospitals, there is an increase in hospital borne diseases. Hence the design should consist of better isolation atmosphere of the patient considering the containment aspect. Contagious or air borne diseases should be treated separately while doing the design. The concept of flexible canopy for the isolation of patients is also an evolving trend.

What are the elements of infrastructure planning that hospitals tend to ignore and how ignoring these elements can add a lot of cost?

At the initial stage of the hospital planning, it is important to involve project management consultant, architects, hospital consultants, doctors and investors so that everyone is on the same page. These practices are needed for better communication and also to avoid deviations or to have minimal deviations from concept modelling to actual execution and completion of the project in terms of cost, quality and timelines of the project.

Involvement of the project management consultant right from the beginning gives advantage in maintaining the project timelines which is directly related to the cost of the project.

The focus should be very clear from day one in terms of infrastructure planning, budget of the project, long-term operational cost and return on investment planning.

The intention should be to reduce the operational cost by introducing latest cost-effective designs and reliable hospital management systems which reduce a lot of overheads, in terms of operational cost. It also involves proper utilisation of human resources and optimisation of work, giving more importance to quality rather than quantity.

To provide effective and good services to the patient, and develop trust is the only element wherein more revenue of the hospital can be generated.

Training and development of the staff need to be considered as an investment rather than expense, which most of the hospitals tends to ignore. On a long-term basis, these activities reduce the operating cost of the hospitals and improve quality standards.

With technology playing a key role in healthcare delivery, hospitals these days are upgrading their infrastructure to suit this development. How should hospitals plan for this in advance?

Technology in the healthcare sector is changing rapidly. It is essential that planning and designing of the hospital be done by keeping in mind the rapid change in technology. Emphasis should be given on future ready designs to adopt changes due to technology development. Effective use of IT models is vital in today’s scenario.

Many modern equipment or machines require specific conditions for smooth operation. With compact machines and cloud-based systems in hospitals, the infrastructure with efficient work space area is being built.

Utilisation of effective digital media for proper care of patient and to extend the care beyond hospital walls is crucial. It is also important to have a consultation and trust on reliable authorities and delegates to provide technology and procurement assessment and guidance for proper investment. Adopting new technologies that are man power saving and integrative across the hospital is required.

Thus, with technology development it is also necessary for the infrastructure to be of utmost standards.

What are the pre-requisites of infrastructure that hospital of the future need to have?

In modern day, hospitals are considered to be an important part of the healthcare industry, pharmaceuticals and other associated fields.

Making patient and employee-friendly hospital setups and environment is the biggest challenge in hospital design. The aspects of patient- friendly concept in hospital design is the need of the hour and are relevant within the context of sustainability in healthcare facilities.

Hospital acquired infections is one of the major challenges nowadays. New designs should necessarily take care of such issues. Another important factor in design to be considered is human errors, which need to be minimised.

Apart from the quality of care, the new hospital design should emphasise on standardisation, automation, scalability and adoptability to develop smart and future ready hospitals.

The cost of construction of hospitals is increasing over the years. Patients are looking for the quality care with minimum cost. Considering the aspects of safety and environment, a good hospital design may prove to be a great business venture.

raelene.kambli@expressindia.com

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