2018 marked a year of tremendous innovation within the healthcare landscape — largely driven by consumers searching for a more democratic, transparent and holistic experience for receiving care and reviewing their personal health information. These changes set the stage for more dramatic growth in the year ahead.
Design a Healing Environment
The construction of medical facilities involves countless considerations for interactions between hospital staff, patients and the environment. While this is a complex task on its own, this exercise is made more challenging as designers strive to create opportunities for more humanistic design. Designed for more than just function, hospitals and clinics built in recent years offer wellness and healing beyond the care that patients receive. Spaces with natural light, lush greenery and access to the outdoors allows patients, visitors and staff to enjoy nature’s soothing effects. Multi-purpose art installations act as medical equipment storage that can be easily concealed with removable panels, which contributes to lowered anxiety for both patients and visitors.
Treatment facilities such as Maggie’s Centres — a UK program supporting those affected by cancer, and available on National Health Services Hospital campuses — are designed to bring comfort and serenity to patients and loved ones. Tiny details like the material of the door handles can be significant— opting for wood reduces sensitivity for chemotherapy patients experiencing neuropathy. Carefully placed eaves over the windows reduce harmful UV rays, and central gathering spaces such as kitchens and dining areas act as a hearth for warm and inviting communities to connect.
Accommodate the Growing Senior Population
The number of Americans aged 65+ is projected to grow from 46 million today to more than 98 million by 2060, creating an extraordinary demand for more innovative services in wellness and healthcare. Teams in Sweden are already springing into action, having introduced mobile unit healthcare, which brings doctors, nurses and conversational therapists to seniors’ homes. Mobile service improves accessibility and affordability in that country, saving an estimated $8,000 per patient.
Virtual reality offers similar jumping-off points for groundbreaking technology. Virtue Health’s LookBack — a digital therapy platform that assists caregivers in improving the wellness in patients with dementia — offers patients 360-degree views of familiar environments, videos of historic moments in culture and personal photographs of shared experiences with their loved ones. Additionally, virtual care and resources are available to seniors simply looking to maintain their independence longer. Telehealth options connect older individuals with medical professionals via chat videos. These older populations can also track health stats with the help of remote devices and receive information on medications, treatment plans and tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
To support similar services for older populations, Mindsailing is working with Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Live Well at Home program, which connects seniors to people and services that enable them to thrive independently. This includes community-based supports such as caregiving, home modification, transportation and home delivery.
But when exactly does aging begin and end? Modern Elder, has created a new luxury retreat that caters to elderly workers in Tech. The idea is to reframe the concept of aging by creating a space and path for personal growth as we age. The ‘Elder’ concept begins for this group around age 30, prompting discussion around what it means to age, and how it effects us at different times in our lives.
No patient wants to feel like another number and many are eager for a more personalized experience in healthcare. New technologies have combined with one-on-one provider interaction to deliver timely care that still maintains a personal interaction with doctors and nurse. Apps and other user-friendly technology have expanded and democratized the medical experience, allowing more people than ever are able to afford and access services digitally.
TalkSpace is an online therapy service that allows users to access licensed therapists without commuting to a physical location for a fraction of the cost of traditional on-site sessions. Similarly, 23andme helps contribute more insights around medical history and congenital diseases.
Medical expertise and ownership of individual patient records are now possible, giving patients more autonomy, and equipping them with the knowledge for treating whatever condition that afflicts them.
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