Usually when some one thinks about hospital planning & designing, the first image that comes to the mind is this …
Hospital planning & designing ideally starts way before
In the world of hospital planning & designing, the concept of form follows function is still relevant but is becoming more of a cliche. At Medigence we believe in “Form follows Function – follows Strategy – follows Vision”
For most people, vision is just a hazy picture or figment of their imagination about the project. In most cases when stakeholders are asked what kind of hospital they want to build, their reply is a good hospital or a great hospital. Clearly defining the parameters of “good” or “great”, and getting deep into its specifics, is really important.
The role of a healthcare consultant is to help stakeholders in clearly visualizing each aspect of their dream project, backed by strong evidence and reasoning.
Your vision decides your strategy, and therefore it is important to write down your vision in words. You can write multiple visions about each aspect of your hospital project. For example; a vision about what type of patients you want to treat, what specialties you want to have, what level of service you want to provide, what type of patient experience you want to create, and more. There is no limit to what you can write about your vision, and the number of different visions you can have. The more, the merrier! A clear vision helps stakeholders identify, end results they want to achieve by manifesting their dream project into reality.
This will give you clarity on many aspects of your hospital planning & designing process, and will also create a strong foundation for you.
Macro Research before Hospital planning & designing
Macro research is often ignored, resulting in fundamental flaws in the business strategy itself. Macro research involves performing SWOT Analysis ( Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat ) of the industry itself, and then performing the same of the stakeholders. Analysing porters’ 5 forces is also important. One may never know which technological development can change the industry dynamics forever. Lately government policies have adversely impacted the healthcare industry, and forces like these can dictate the success or failure of the project.
A macro research about the demographics, and consumer behavior is also important. Identifying total number of potential patients, number of similar service providers in your city or state, percentage increase in number of cases, preferred mode of payments by the patients, paying capacity of the patients, availability of human resource, and public’s general perception about the local healthcare services, should be studied carefully.
While often ignoring the importance of macro research, the stakeholders sometimes assume that their hospital is going to be successful, once the hospital gets operational.
Project management and execution is pertinent to the success of achieving predicted cost estimates of the project. Only 10 out of 100 hospital planning & designing projects have some kind of program structure, gantt chart or charted out task interdependencies. Absence of proper project management and planning, leads to 6 to 12 months of delayed project time, and almost an increase of 80% of the estimated project cost.
Especially in smaller hospital planning & design projects, stakeholders or their friends and relatives try to manage projects, and the lack of experience and required skills puts these projects into jeopardy.
Patient experience should be an integral part of your vision and strategy. Time has changed, and now each and every patient demands patient experience, no matter what economic background it comes from. Government schemes like Ayushman Bharat have put 5 lac rupees in the pockets of patients coming from the middle class or below. This has opened up a plethora of expectations in terms of quality of service and patient experience. Hospitals will have to be on their toes, catering to patients having mediclaims or other premium patients, ensuring them best in class services and patient experience.
An easy and quick tip to creating a successful patient experience without increasing the budget substantially is to plan patient areas first, and then plan stakeholders area. For example while doing hospital planning & designing, make sure patient rooms, patient waiting areas, OPD waiting areas, patient washrooms, patient counselling rooms, patient related other areas are designed first. A complete 3D rendering of these areas should be ready, before stakeholder areas like OPD areas, doctor consulting rooms, doctor’s lounge and other such areas are planned. A move like this will ensure that a reasonable budget is allocated to patient areas, before allocating a hefty budget to other areas. Hiring someone who can help you with 360 degree patient experience can take care of this important mission.
Yes we understand that form-follows-function while planning a new hospital. But do hospitals have to be boring?
For decades, we have stuck to this rule of form-follows-function, and somehow we have lost the concept of “form” , while hyper focusing only on function. We will have to bring back the lost concept of “form”, ensuring a fine balance between both form and function.
Hospital structure and design needs a paradigm shift, in order to create a great patient experience. Patients should be staying in a hospital, not because they have to, but also because they want to (not out of compulsion, but choice as well). And to create an experience like that, we will have to eradicate lines between the concepts of hospital and hospitality.
We need more daring hospital planners & designers who can defy the old rules, and while accommodating demands of the “function”, can create invigorating, innovative, new “forms” in terms of hospital designs and structures.