August 16, 2012
Pitt County Memorial Hospital Chapel, a LS3P project. Photo: Mark Herboth
Just like any good design, the best examples of healthcare architecture are human-centered and problem solving. Marc Marchant, Vice President and Principal with Charleston, South Carolina-based LS3P Associates, recently spoke with Discover about the complicated yet rewarding world of healthcare design. Marchant, a thirteen-year industry veteran, is a former recipient of the Herman Miller Health Care and American Institute of Architects’ Healthcare Interns Scholarship.
What are a few of the challenges unique to designing spaces for healthcare?
In healthcare, there are complicated buildings that require a very solution-based outcome—not just for the building, but for the patients and staff. How do you create a building that comforts patients, creates a meaningful work environment for staff and is extremely functional? How do you take something as mundane as an MRI room and create a space that is conducive to keeping patients calm during an otherwise unnerving procedure?
How do you work with a client to help them stay true to their vision?
The design and construction process can take years, so it starts with the design team and owner collaborating to establish the big vision and always looking back at that big idea to make sure they are achieving it. Everyone needs to have buy-in from the beginning to achieve the vision.
Design, Innovation, What's Up
May 10, 2012
Herman Miller's new Quilty textile mimics the water and oil repellant properties of a lotus leaf.
Biologist, innovation consultant, and author, Janine Benyus has dedicated her life to the idea that learning from natural models is the best way to achieve sustainable design. Through her Biomimicry Guild, she has inspired companies to look to nature as model, measure, and mentor in the design process.
She has a lot in common with Charles Eames, who said that design “depends largely on constraints.” For Benyus, it’s a matter of the way everything on earth, with the regrettable exception of most humans, learns to live within nature’s limits. Read more
Design, Healthcare, Innovation
May 6, 2011
“Companies prosper when they tap into a power that every one of us already has – the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people, to walk in someone else’s shoes.” That’s Dev Patnaik, author of Wired to Care , speaking. He believes empathy is key to innovation. And everyone from marketing to R&D benefits from a better understanding of their customers and end users.
We agree. Empathy plays an important role in Herman Miller research, design, and development of new products, particularly in healthcare. We gain empathy by engaging with nurses and other caregivers in multiple ways. Facility tours, focus groups, gaming sessions, and job shadowing help us develop insight into the work of caregivers, to really understand what they do, what their work day is like. We then do our best to share those experiences with product development teams through reports, hallway conversations, and workshops.
We believe products like Compass express the empathy we have with caregivers, patients, families, and administrators.
March 10, 2011
Hospital professionals are always looking to improve the care they deliver and do so more efficiently. Many think standards are the answer, especially in patient room design. But a question quickly arises: Which approach—same-handed or mirror-image design—is better for patient safety and staff efficiency?
Why the debate? Mirror-image rooms like the one below share plumbing chases and medical gas and electrical lines. That’s efficient from an architectural point of view.
On the other hand, same-handed rooms like the one below don’t share chases and lines. That adds about $3,000 to $5,000 to the cost of each patient room.
Even with this added cost, an increasing number of hospitals are choosing same-handed design. They’re doing because they believe that standardized same-handed design contributes to better process and workflow. Trouble is, there’s very little evidence to support this belief.
So the debate goes on. We think it’s a healthy debate because it focuses attention on the important role design plays in patient-room settings. It’s generating new research into the merits of same-handed versus mirror-image design, too.
This is all good, but in all the research and all the talk, let’s not lose sight of the people who deliver care. Too much standardizing in the name of efficiency—prescribing, for example, their approach (either left or right) to patients—may backfire if we don’t involve them in the discussion.
Photos 2 & 3 credit: HKS Architects
Design, Healthcare, Products
February 28, 2011
Photo via Popular Science
Think about crutches. Most of us don’t until we experience the difficulty and discomfort of using them. Crutches can damage nerves, arteries, and tissue, and it’s easy to slip and cause more pain or more injury.
Here’s a better way. It’s called Mobilegs, from Mobi, a Minneapolis-based designer of mobility products. Mobi, born out of Studio Weber + Associates, seeks to transform our perception and function of mobility devices like crutches, making them more comfortable, better-designed, and more customizable.
Mobilegs is so innovative, it was named Best of What’s New for Health for 2010 by Popular Science magazine, which reads, “Mobilegs takes the design to the 21st century with modern materials and careful attention to ergonomic factors (which should come as no surprise given that their inventor helped design the Aeron chair).”
That inventor is Jeff Weber, of Studio + Weber, who also designed Herman Miller’s Embody chair, Caper chair, and Envelop desk. “I work to humanize the relationship between people, products, and the world around us,” Jeff says. He was inspired by a 2005 foot injury that made him all too aware of the crutch problem. “The traditional crutch was not designed to accommodate the mechanics of the human body. Mobilegs does just that.”
February 25, 2011
As a company committed to improving healthcare environments through better design, Herman Miller is pleased to tell you about how one man’s idea turned into a wonderful addition to the new Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It’s all about art. Kids’ art.
The idea, which originated with Dr. Bob Connors, head of the hospital, was to fill the facility with art created for and by children. And when the doors opened in January, more than 600 original creations, by nearly 9,000 West Michigan-area children, decorated the 14-floor facility.
“It was truly a community effort,” said Scott LaFontsee of LaFontsee Galleries/Underground Studios, who helped coordinate the huge effort that involved schools and other organizations as well as local artists who volunteered to help.
“When kids come to this place, they know it’s a children’s place,” said Dr. Connors, who was extremely pleased with the outcome.
Photo credit: Emily Zoladz, The Grand Rapids Press
January 18, 2011
In November, Herman Miller began offering basic medical services on site to its employees with a primary goal of reducing health care costs, but also to make it more convenient for people to get the appropriate care they may need.
“We know from our health insurance claims that a lot of people use urgent care or emergency room services for things that are not really emergencies simply because they don’t have a family doctor or anywhere to go for basic care,” says Mike Koppenol, Senior Manager, Employee Benefit Programs. “We thought if we offered some limited services at our three on-site clinics (previously used for work-related cases only) we could save money and also provide a better place to treat people for minor things such as sore throats, coughs, fevers, sprains, stitches, eye or ear injuries, that sort of thing.”
Using ER services for non-urgent care is not only very expensive—on average $450 versus $90 for a doctor’s office visit—it also ties up valuable resources that others may need.
Koppenol says the idea with the clinics, which are staffed by a physician, a physician’s assistant, and a nurse practitioner, isn’t to replace a primary care doctor, but to serve as more of a fill-in. “Employees need primary care physicians for annual physicals and for preventive care, and also so they have a medical ‘home’ to go to if something goes wrong. Our clinics can take care of the bumps and bruises that may come up in the meantime.”
Other large companies, from Toyota to Pepsi to Disney, are finding that on-site clinics are a great way to go; some studies show employers can save as much as 25 percent in employee health care fees in the first year alone, not to mention the savings in productivity when an employee doesn’t have to take 2-3 hours off for a doctor’s appointment.
Design, Healthcare, Products
January 12, 2011
Gianfranco Zaccai brings to design a synergy of two cultures: the rational, practical, American approach he grew up in and the more emotional, traditional, Italian perspective that is his heritage.
While he may have relied on American practicality in his design of the Swiffer system for Proctor & Gamble, he clearly drew from broad experience and a depth of understanding in his work on Herman Miller’s Compass system.
He also is the co-founder of Continuum, an international design firm.
Here are seven questions (plus a half) for Gianfranco Zaccai:
1. What are you working on right now?
Well, I’m working on another project for Herman Miller. Like Compass, it’s in healthcare, which is a particularly compelling area to work in. When I first got out of design school, I began to focus on bringing a human touch to healthcare. That’s really vital.
There’s an overwhelming amount of technology in healthcare. Even doctors get overwhelmed by the evolution in certain disciplines. What gets lost is the human touch.
2. Which of your projects are you most proud of?
Years ago, I worked on another project for Herman Miller that never went to market, but it dealt with ways to allow people to stay at home as they aged or developed disabilities. We came up with a series of solutions for things like personal hygiene, for example. My own parents were aging at the time, so the development of the project came from observing them. When we were building prototypes, many people talked about how they needed something like it for their mothers—or for themselves. It never went into production, but those conversations indicated a need.
3. What inspires you? Where do you go for inspiration?
The way we approach any project is to get deeply into the context. So, with healthcare, we spend a lot of time in hospitals. We observe and talk to people—nurses, doctors, patients, cleaning staff. As a result, we are able to glean information that we’ve developed into a series of projects.
I also like to hike in the Italian Alps, especially the Dolomites. That’s a particularly wonderful place to be.
4. What work do you most admire by another artist or designer?
One guy I very much admire is Ettore Sottsass, founder of the Memphis collective. He was very pragmatic and was not afraid to step outside the bounds of what’s considered good design. His work was both rational and emotional at the same time.
I also admire Philippe Starck because he transforms everyday items into something you can experience in a different way. It’s very emotional design. I particularly like the flyswatter and the ghost chair.
And Renzo Piano, not only because he designs elegant buildings, but also because he incorporates elegant solutions, like bringing light into a gallery space, for example.
5. What would be your dream project?
To redesign the American healthcare system–the way healthcare is delivered, the way people collaborate, the way technology is integrated. We have a lot of Band-Aid solutions. Someone has to change the package.
And one-half: You’ve said that Compass is your favorite project. Why?
Compass deals with the sweet spot that I’m interested in—humanizing health care. If we’re successful, we will have created an environment in which providers can practice better healthcare and patients can feel that they’re well taken care of. Compass is a system that allows for efficient change, even if the hospital is 100 years old. It’s Utopian to think you can create the perfect environment for something when that something keeps changing.
6. What place in the world would you most like to visit?
Tibet, because of the mountains, but also because Asian art, architecture, and furniture is very appealing to me. I’ve been to other places in Asia, but not there.
7. What one thing do you want to accomplish before you die?
To make sure my children are headed in the right direction. Everyone has their own path to follow. I hope to do my part in preparing them to be good people and to achieve their dreams.
Photo via Syracuse University Magazine
September 23, 2010
If the current methods of healthcare delivery remain unchanged, treating chronic diseases will elevate healthcare spending and insurance costs to unforeseen levels. Chronic illness currently accounts for 75 percent of our global healthcare spending and is the leading cause of death and disability. By 2030, two out of three Americans will be living with a chronic condition.
Our current system of healthcare delivery is not organized to treat those with chronic conditions holistically. More efficient and cost-effective healthcare management calls for new approaches to our current model of siloed and fragmented care delivery.
Improving patient self-care, building teams of care providers that are accountable as a team, and introducing tools of technology to better communicate and share information, all guided by clinical leadership that wants to change, are required in order to shift from a siloed, fragmented system to an integrated, cooperative—and sustainable—one.
September 15, 2010
According to the The Journal of Nursing Administration, “Nurses tend to overlook their physical environment and ‘do their job.’”
This is unfortunate because the physical environment should assist nurses, as well as doctors, patients, and other staff, with doing their jobs. And it should adapt to them when those jobs change.
Herman Miller Healthcare is continuing to research this issue by listening to those who work in healthcare environments and experience problems and workarounds when doing their jobs. It’s important to ensure that any solution we develop supports them and has a positive impact on their job satisfaction.
Photo via: workingnurse.com