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    Clinic Structures

    by Richard L. Kobus, Michael Bobrow, and Julia Thomas

    The U.S. system of healthcare delivery is under enormous pressure to change to reduce costs to society and to provide greater convenience in a manner more responsive to its consumers. Seldom has an industry that serves all Americans been under such compulsion to reinvent itself and, in doing so, redefine the roles of its components institutions, caregivers, and the physical environment.

    What is most remarkable about the challenges facing healthcare is that consumers are demanding change in a period of rising consumption and limited supply. Demographics for the United States show significantly increasing populations over the age of 75. At the same time, healthcare organizations have already reduced their costs so much that its hard to see any way to further reduce staff or increase economy of scale.

    Architects practicing in the industry today are met by an increasing focus on limiting the cost of construction and the cost of their services. In an effort to be responsive to the demands of their clients, some may choose the route that leads solely to greater efficiency while forgetting their responsibility to the care of their prime consumer, the patient.

    The emphasis of healthcare architecture today must be on improving the quality of the environment for patients and caregivers alike. Architects can support healthcare management best through efficient solutions, but not those that ignore the environment and the quality of patient-caregiver encounters that it supports.

    New Structural Standards

    In California, because of the recent Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes, a new replacement policy has been established for all structures housing inpatients. To be phased in over 30 years, this will require all facilities to remain operational after an 8.0 (Richter Scale) earthquake.   >>>

     
    This article is excerpted from Building Type Basics for Healthcare Facilities edited by Stephen A. Kliment, with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons.

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    ArchWeek Image

    The atrium of the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine at the University of Chicago, with clinics on one side and diagnostic and treatment functions on the other.
    Photo: Tsoi/Kobus and Associates

    ArchWeek Image

    A waiting room in the New England Medical Center.
    Photo: Tsoi/Kobus and Associates

     

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