In the 1960s a landmark medical treatise – Albert Feinstein’s Clinical Judgment – redefined both the design of medical practice as well as its facilities. Up to that point, the study purported that the concept of ‘clinical reasoning’ was not adequately underpinned by scrupulous evidence-based findings and, as such, medical practitioners were at risk of radically misdiagnosing patients and their ailments. Coupled to these findings was a criticism of the design of medical facilities more broadly: evidence-based medical service needed facilities that were designed specifically on empirical evidence. In the years that would follow, architects, designers and researchers dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy into devising ways in which we could gauge the effectiveness of medical environments positively affecting patients’ health, wellbeing, recovery time, as well as providing medical practitioners with the necessary tools and amenities to ensure that they could achieve a new frontier of best practice.
Today, this collective effort has resulted in a new age of intelligent healthcare design. And, just in time, it would seem! While the world’s population continues to live longer on average, the rate of chronic illness – among which, cancer is outstripping other virulent chronic diseases – our medical facilities are coming under an unprecedented degree of pressure. Increased chronic illnesses, increased numbers of the infirm, decreased numbers of healthcare practitioners and an increased demand placed on medical amenities is beginning to yield damning results. But within this space, the architecture and design community is demonstrating pointed thought-leadership – pushing the cause for a more intelligent, sustainable and future-proof era for the provision of medical services today and tomorrow.
Case Study: St Theresa Hospital (Hong Kong)
As a perfect exemplar of this new conception of better-designed medical facilities, Hong Kong’s St Theresa Hospital illustrates the value of evidence-driven and intelligent design. Founded in 1940 by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, the hospital has recently withstood more than seven years of continual development and improvement, now standing as a well-established private general hospital in Hong Kong busy CBD. Presently, its 700 beds are coupled with the latest medical facilities, aiming to provide competent and best-quality healthcare services to the general public. Now offering holistic care to promote wellness for staff, patients and associate stakeholders, it is one of the largest hospitals in Hong Kong.
Elevating the Human Experience of Care
Within a single healthcare facility, there are many specific sub-strata environments, each with a unique set of requirements. Within each of these myriad environments – from waiting rooms, intensive care units, specialist facilities and communal spaces – Herman Miller Healthcare represents a comprehensive product offering for every aspect of healthcare interiors.
We consider each separate milestone that punctuates the entire care journey, and pride ourselves on the provision of evidence-backed solutions to make what can sometimes be a stressful and worrying experience more naturally supportive for practitioners, patients and their loved ones.
Our deep understanding of human dynamics and technology’s potential to improve how people deliver and receive care informs our product designs for caregivers and staff. We address human needs in health and wellness environments across the entire continuum of care. Innovative performance and superior construction result in spaces that function better, while our holistic, human-centred design approach means the experiential quality reaches a new level of comfort, solace and salubriousness too.
Herman Miller has worked with St Theresa for the past 17 years, providing solutions to a variety of areas within the hospital. The hospital’s procurement manager, Simon Lee acknowledges that the durability and longevity of Herman Miller’s products over the past 17 years has influenced the key decision makers at the hospital, to continue specifying Herman Miller products. Management, procurement, engineering and nursing staff have acknowledged that Herman Miller products set the comparative standard. In Lee’s own words, the products of our range ‘just last. There is nothing on the market with a 12 year warranty. The products are utilised every day, in high use areas and have not needed to be replaced.’
Administration Equa 2 chairs
The people who lead and manage the day-to-day business of a healthcare facility need work environments that give them the tools to increase their productivity, comfort, and satisfaction,. As such, for St Theresa’s healthcare providers, Equa 2 seating was selected to allow everyone, regardless of work activities, to experience good ergonomic support and comfort. Equa 2 provides quick response to the end-user’s movements with the seat and back flexing separately, and a tilt mechanism that maintains natural body motion to provide the support for agile behaviours that are key to a superior functioning and responsive healthcare environment.
Caregiver work environments: Ethospace Nurses Station
Caregivers shift constantly from direct patient care to administrative tasks and information sharing. Concentrated work, peer collaboration, and consultations with families and patients work best when the environment marries with the myriad of activities it services. Additionally, caregivers need quiet places, private places, and open, connected places. Ethospace nurses' stations were selected with this in mind, largely due to the flexibility that the system boasts to support the mix of activities that can – and frequently do – occur simultaneously.
Materials Management: Procedure & Supply Carts
The supplies, services, and labour required to manage medical/surgical and patient care materials can amount to nearly half of a hospital's total operating budget. With this staggering overhead in mind, it is crucial to continually improve processes and reduce the waste of inventory. The procedure and supply carts provided a durable, modular solution.
Welcome and Waiting Chadwick Modular Seating & Caper Stacking Chairs
Chadwick modular seating allows public waiting spaces to feel dynamic and welcoming, providing both versatility and comfort, while lightweight Caper Stacking Chairs are portable, so they can easily respond to the adaptive and reconfigurable needs of shifting permanent or causal seating requirements.
Welcome and waiting areas, emergency department patient treatment and administrative spaces.
Herman Miller Product
Ethospace , Equa 2 Chair, Procedure & Supply Carts, Emergency Carts, L Carts, Surgical lockers, Caper chairs, Chadwick modular seating.
Products should be built to last, at Herman Miller we design high-quality products with extremely long life expectancies and replaceable components to extend their life.
For further information on Herman Miller Healthcare: www.hermanmiller.com.au