Making the Path of Egress the Path of Least Resistance in Healthcare Facilities
A consultant shares the lessons they learned after informing an architect that their newly designed hospital would require an ...
When expanding, renovating, or developing a healthcare facility, stakeholders and leadership teams are often presented with an overwhelming amount of choices for products and features to help build their hospital for the future. Making the right selections is an integral part of the project and requires much consideration, especially from those individuals working in the new facility and caring for patients and visitors daily.
In order to curate products, software, and technology that best suit the needs of a facility, as well as end users, it’s imperative that project decision-makers are ‘deciding with empathy.’ However, this focus on empathy extends much further than the project end date and should ultimately affect the end goal for all healthcare projects: enhancing patient care and elevating staff experience. As consultants, our primary goal is to ensure that every decision made, every product chosen, and every software implemented ultimately contributes to improved outcomes for the patients and the hospital staff that care for them.
Over the course of this blog series, we will address how we, as healthcare technology consultants, use empathetic decision-making throughout all stages of a project to build strong teams and to design hospitals that can better serve patients, visitors, and employees.
When practicing empathetic decision-making, teams are taking the considerations, knowledge, and opinions of everyone involved with the project into account to make the wisest and most informed choices for a project.
Open and honest dialogue between owners, stakeholders, leadership teams, nurses, IT professionals, and patient families will build trust and help reduce assumptions from preconceived notions. Going into meetings and planning sessions with an open mind and remaining curious, not judgmental, paves the way for effective and empathetic decision-making. When involved from the outset, healthcare technology consultants are able to bridge the gaps between key decision-makers, healthcare providers, and additional staff. As consultants, we aim to form a more cohesive and understanding team to ensure optimal utilization of the healthcare facility being designed.
We begin our consulting journey by having a comprehensive first meeting to clarify standards and establish a solid baseline to guide subsequent activities. By seeking to understand the scope of the client’s aspirations, whether they are embarking on the construction of a new tower, introducing new technology, or undertaking a series of renovations, we aim to align our expertise with their vision and goals.
Recognizing that a client’s objectives and top priorities may not be exclusively centered on technology, we emphasize the importance of understanding the effect that a project will have on the broader trajectory of their facility or campus. For instance, when working with large, complex healthcare organizations that operate in both medical and academic systems, we address the capability of two different systems to talk to one another and compare and contrast the requirements of multiple buildings under the same organization to gain a more well-rounded insight.
In addition to building and campus concerns, the intricacies of a healthcare organization's structure, potential leadership changes, and the political dynamics at play are all vital factors to be considered. Establishing a groundwork on how the healthcare system currently operates on both organizational and operational levels allows us to better tailor our approach to meet their specific needs.
Typically, healthcare project teams have worked on a number of projects that have led to a build-up of assumptions about how and why healthcare facilities operate in a certain manner. While this experience is invaluable, it can also bring bias and cookie-cutter approaches to new projects, which effectively reduces innovation and the advancement of patient care.
One of our biggest lessons learned after participating in many kick-off meetings with healthcare clients is that empathy cannot exist if assumptions are present.
To ensure success, we instill a culture of curiosity and consideration across the entire project team. Healthcare consulting is not a one-size-fits-all process; it's a journey of continuous learning and adaptation. By fostering these qualities, we can better anticipate and cater to the project’s evolving needs, thereby setting both our clients and our team up for success.
After project teams are more acclimated with each other, the next step is to help them build a better project roadmap. Creating attainable and proficient strategies for healthcare projects begins by addressing problems that frequently arise. Whether it is rapidly inflating technology budgets, construction rework, or delays in opening up a new facility - architects, consultants, and clients have all encountered similar issues that have likely occurred due to poorly planned project roadmaps that were put together by siloed teams.
Working from lessons learned, our team of consultants is able to step in to provide industry expertise and offer a systematic approach, all while continuing to foster a collaborative and empathetic environment. We leverage the client’s deep understanding of the healthcare industry and incorporate best practices and the latest technological trends to make sure that suitable choices are being made. Our consultants illuminate potential roadblocks, like supply-chain issues, and identify unseen opportunities, like added security measures, shaping a more accurate and realistic technology budget and roadmap.
Because our team has already come to understand the client’s needs, aspirations, and existing infrastructure, we can more easily develop a customized plan, outline tasks, set milestones, and foresee the resources required for the project. This systematic approach, coupled with their experience in change management, helps prevent any oversight and minimize potential risks and delays. Our consultants guide clients in navigating any organizational adjustments required for the successful execution of the project, from personnel changes to shifts in technology. This often involves advising on stakeholder engagement strategies, team training, and communication plans.
While formulating a roadmap that can adapt to project changes and organizational adjustments, our consultants practice open and transparent communication to align diverse perspectives and ensure that all voices are heard. This collaborative approach fosters consensus around the refinement of the project roadmap, encouraging buy-in from all parties involved.
Lastly, consultants assist key decision-makers by providing ongoing support and evaluation. As the project progresses, our team is readily available to help reassess and adjust the roadmap based on real-time feedback and performance. This iterative process ensures the project remains on track and evolves as necessary, increasing the likelihood of successful project completion and long-term sustainability.
By introducing practiced healthcare consultants to a project in its early stages of development, they are able to apply a humanistic approach to the project’s foundation that will save clients money, time, and potential headaches. Using the tactics described above, our team guides healthcare organizations toward successful project execution and enhanced outcomes for future patients and visitors.
Stay tuned for the next blog post in the series that will address how our team uses empathetic decision-making to build strong teams and reduce assumptions throughout the healthcare project journey.
To learn more about how our healthcare technology experts can support your project needs, contact us today!