What is the future of the Health Sector? Early this month Unita and PDT Architects hosted a joint Health Forum at the Unita Office, bringing together exceptional leaders from diverse backgrounds and healthcare professions to workshop the future of healthcare design and construction with a focus around medical practices.
In this turbulent year of the global pandemic, it has tested our health system and like most industries, the health sector has had to rapidly adapt making us relook and rethink how we approach health.
In the forum, a design charette was conducted, enabling people from diverse skill sets to collaborate, discuss, explore and exchange a broad range of ideas focused on a single theme – what has the pandemic taught us and how do we emerge better and stronger?
Dr Vivienne Tippett from QUT provided invaluable insight into what ‘health in the age of digital wellness’ looks like. Emphasising the importance of evolving health to be patient-centred wellbeing.
Living in the digital age, we are more information-rich than we have ever been. Who hasn’t used ‘google doctor’ to self-diagnose or learn more about a condition? During the pandemic we have leaned even more into technology, interacting through the virtual world. Therefore, the question moving forward is how do health care providers fit into our lives? We are more informed, however, has our health literacy improved? How do we get through all the noise and make well informed and appropriate health decisions? Perhaps the role of our health professionals in the future is more the ‘translator/concierge.’
With these questions in mind, the different teams generated some thought-provoking solutions. The common theme that came out of the design charette was the emphasis on ‘wellness’ both physical and mental and finding the right synergy between technology and the human factor. The winning team’s ‘Health Village’ concept moved away from the traditional medical hub design. With a focus on a mixed-use health village, with retail, outdoor space, rehabilitation facilities, gyms and yoga studios. The health village is experience-driven and focussed on long term wellbeing rather than a short-term health solution. It adopted some of the modern workplace principles by providing different environments that respond more to the nature of the activity, rather than the traditional and static waiting and consultation rooms. The health village focused on both staff and patient wellbeing.
The new ‘Health Village’ story:
You arrive in the village and check-in either via a mobile app or through concierge, you wait at the village’s café or outdoor garden (if you are infectious) and when your practitioner is ready you will receive an alert and the practitioner will come and collect you.
Depending on the type of consultation you require, you will either go into a private room or have your consultation in one of the many different consultation pods within the village. These pods are highly mobile and can be appropriate socially distanced during a pandemic or densify in normal conditions.
Depending on your diagnosis, you may be passed onto a specialist in the village that can work through a recovery program.
As part of your wellbeing program, you may have a consultation with the village’s nutritionist or fitness instructor.
You can shop at the village grocery store and then book a session at the village yoga studio or gym.
In summary, the future of health is experience-driven, with a focus on maintaining long term health. The data collected through technology can be better utilised to help inform our health professionals to problem solve.
If you want to learn more about how we can help reimagine your health practice please contact Miranda Sheehan.