HCD 2022 Conference Preview: A New Model for the Urban Medical Center

The 2022 Healthcare Design Conference + Expo will take place from October 8 to 11 in San Antonio. The annual event will offer a variety of lectures and breakout sessions on a range of topics.

Healthcare Design previews some of the upcoming educational sessions in a Q&A series with speakers, sharing what they plan to discuss and key takeaways they plan to offer attendees.

Session: “E81- Urban medical centers and their neighborhoods: design for health and dynamism”

Speakers: Daniel O’Shaughnessy, Associate Director, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; Scott Habjan, Senior Managing Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; and Timothy Keane, Director of Planning and Development Services, City of Boise.

Despite the importance of urban medical centers to their communities, the design of these facilities is generally driven more by their considerable planning constraints than by their humanistic mission and role as the “ultimate community facility”.

Their size, planning and operational complexity almost invariably place them at odds with the scale and character of their urban neighborhood context.

This session will focus on how evolving ideas from healthcare and urban planning can combine to create a new model of urban medical center that can improve the health and well-being of patients, visitors and staff. , as well as neighborhoods for the mutual benefit of all. .

healthcare design: How are ideas on health and urban planning evolving?

Scott Habjan: Healthcare is changing in many ways, including telemedicine, personalized medicine, and wearable technologies. The shift to preventative care and wellness, as well as attention to clinician burnout (accelerated by COVID-19) are also at the forefront of healthcare innovation. health.

Daniel O’Shaughnessy: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the way we used cities and public health expectations at all levels, a transition was underway towards more livable and sustainable urban places that encourage health and The well-being. Cities across the country are reinventing infrastructure — from urban freeways to waterfronts to, yes, outdated medical centers — and encouraging walkable development, ground-level dynamism, and access to nature. .

What role do urban medical centers play in their neighborhoods?

Habjan: Like government buildings or universities, urban medical centers are true anchor institutions within a community. In addition to providing neighborhoods and cities with access to essential health services, they also provide important jobs and generate considerable business for the local economy.

It is important to note that some urban medical centers expand their primary mission by engaging more with their communities to provide other health-related social services. Unfortunately, the current design of these facilities generally makes them feel more “apart” rather than “part” of their neighborhood.

O’Shaughnessy: The key for us is that these urban medical centers increasingly have a responsibility to be good urban neighbors – not just health infrastructure, but also community infrastructure. Design has a huge role to play in making this work happen.

What is the forward-thinking design approach you would like to see applied to these projects?

Habjan: As attitudes toward health care continue to shift toward wellness and preventative care, urban medical centers can embody and facilitate this movement by expanding their offerings to address the social determinants of health and encourage fitness and nutrition. They can support a more holistic approach to health care that includes making it easier to take charge of one’s own health.

To achieve this, urban medical centers identify synergies with other community organizations (such as a YMCA or local farmers’ market) and create on-site partnerships.

By incorporating highly visible wellness programs like these on the ground floor, urban medical centers can activate the public realm, expand their mission and become more vibrant community centers.

What’s one takeaway from your session that you hope attendees go back to?

Habjan: Urban medical centers should be the ultimate community facility and by reinventing themselves as urban health centers they can do this.

For more information on the schedule and registration for the HCD conference, visit hcdexpo.com.