As the millennials over take the baby boomers as the largest generation in America, healthcare has taken a dramatic shift in the way they approach designing for Millennials as they will be making decisions for both their children and even their parents. From Palliative Care Units to Rehabilitation Centers, revitalizing medical infrastructure, interiors, and furniture is crucial to staying alive in the wake of a new and influential generation.
Dallas-based architecture firm HKS Inc. and JE Dunn Construction Group’s report “Clinic 20XX: Designing for an Ever-Changing Present” helps us understand what it is that has changed since the Baby Boomers and what principles design firms can implement when designing clinics that are adaptive to ever-changing needs in physical, mental, and psychological healthcare. This research includes surveys taken from the two largest age cohorts, the Baby Boomer and Millennial populations.
“Frank Zilm, D. Arch., FAIA, FACHA, Chester Dean Director of the Institute for Health+Wellness Design at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, says that to address the needs of a new patient population, health care and design professionals should begin by researching places the people in question tend to congregate.”
“‘What’s the kind of environment they’re comfortable in, and to what degree can we respond to that in terms of a health care environment?’ he asks. ‘I would want to know more about the behavioral patterns and typical situations of the population, to see to what degree we can reflect or support that in the physical environment we’re trying to create in the health care world.
Recent breakthroughs have been made in healthcare and have shown dramatic results in success and retention rate. Our collaboration with Clive Wilkinson Architects for the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab aimed to dissolve the binary relationship between researcher and patients. In this setting, research, care and recovery are done hand in hand with collaborative efforts from nurses, patients, researchers and physicians making it a fully integrated experience.
As a whole, millennials ranked more things higher in general including a quiet environment; 24/7 access; internet access and integration; daylight and views; virtual or video access to a remote clinician; fitness, wellness and retail amenities; mobile apps for making appointments and tracking health information; and a spa like environment. This means incorporating furniture that can support this system such as acoustic design, desking with accessible outlets, comfortable seating, mobile furniture, and even healing art. Often times this means investing in custom furniture that help relay the architecture of your brand and further enables a tailored experience.
Essentially millennials just want more and make decisions very critically. “So, we give them clean, we give them efficient and we give them an enhanced experience that exceeds expectation,” Nanda explains. “And to do so, we have to understand them better, and raise the bar higher for our own industry.”
Mobile Think Pods by dTank, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Rehabilitation Center of Chicago
With the digital age and expectations of millennials, it is important for healthcare to enhance connectivity across a variety of settings. The Clinic 20XX report shows that this connectivity needs to happen both with technology and other people. Patients expect technology to be integrated every step of the way so that they can participate and be involved with their care says Kerianne Graham, RA, AIA, associate, health care architect, NBBJ’s New York City office. “Online registration, digital check-in kiosks and computer displays that allow patients and caregivers to review and discuss health information together are important to designing a positive patient experience, she says.”
Healthcare clinics, once designed around ergonomics and operational efficiency have now began to look beyond these attributes and into a technological force that can help drive user and staff experience, making both work together in a more integrated way.
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