Updated: Feb 1, 2021
The year 2020 has seen several impactful changes within the healthcare industry. We've seen everything from new focuses on automation to the need for more space. 2021 is certain to produce multiple new trends when it comes to building clinics, urgent care centers, and other healthcare facilities. Below, are a few of our predictions for 2021 healthcare construction.
Need: Ability to Distance
Solution: More Efficient Hallways and Rooms
2020 has shown healthcare facilities the need for social distancing. Whether it is to resolve people sitting too close to each other or creating better traffic flow, these buildings need to be efficient for both patients and staff. Adjustable layouts that feature circulation patterns and spatial designs are key. Many of these facilities will find that installing dividers or other physical barriers to separate people is the new normal.
Need: Touchless Doorways, Faucets, etc.
Solution: A Greater Focus on Automation
This year, we predict a much greater focus on automation when it comes to healthcare construction. Clinics and urgent care facilities will reduce the number of times a person has to touch a doorway, faucet, or hand soap dispenser. Additionally, automatic doors will give healthcare facilities control over where people within the building are permitted to access. If a section of the facility needs to be closed off, workers can simply use automation to lock the selected doors and prevent access to those areas remotely as opposed to having to do so manually.
Need: Safer, Cleaner Waiting Room Areas
Solution: Lounge-Style Seating with Antimicrobial Surfaces
We expect that healthcare facilities will look to invest in waiting rooms that feature the ability for people to spread out comfortably with sufficient space. Surfaces made of an antimicrobial material will be ideal as they can easily be cleaned and sanitized. Materials made of polyester, polyester-vinyl composites, vinyl, and even acrylics come to mind. Hard surface options and chair coverings are also great choices due to their ability to be conveniently cleaned.
Need: Cleaner Air and Better Circulation
Solution: Updates to the Current HVAC Systems and Standards
As we found out in 2020, airborne diseases can circulate through a building through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Experts are currently analyzing how these systems can be updated to provide a continuous flow of clean air, especially to those in healthcare facilities. Healthcare facilities may need to examine a possible re-standardization of commercial HVAC systems to allow for buildings to meet a minimum requirement in order to be converted into healthcare facilities should the need arise.
Healthcare workers are continually working to provide their services to the public even as these changes are slowly but surely implemented. 2020 has presented a variety of challenges for the healthcare construction industry to overcome. Some trends may become a standard staple while others will fade with time. If you are interested in learning more about healthcare design and how we can help, don't hesitate to contact us!