OBSERVING the severe stress that the Covid-19 pandemic unleashed on healthcare systems around the world, Tarkett set out to investigate the hospital of the future: the challenges it will face and how it must evolve to best serve patients, medical staff, and the wider community.
In addition to undertaking extensive research into best practice design and the global healthcare outlook, Tarkett drew together a panel of 12 international experts to debate and share the latest viewpoints from across the healthcare community.
The resulting 70-page in-depth white paper, The Hospital of the Future: Challenges and Stakes, highlights the urgent need for a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to realise a fundamentally new model for the hospital of the future, one that is human-centric, efficient, flexible, and environmentally responsible.
Tarkett is making this white paper freely available to all as a contribution to the debate on the hospital of the future, sharing knowledge and helping drive forward-thinking among healthcare providers, consultants, designers, and suppliers.
This research will in turn guide Tarkett’s own product innovation strategy as it plays its role in improving healthcare settings, underpinned as always by its driving commitment to Tarkett human-conscious design.
Summary of key findings
Ensuring access to care and continuity of care whatever the context will be the main challenge of the Hospital of the Future as a result of:
- An increasing demand for healthcare owing to ageing and growing populations and rising chronic illness
- The threat of future global health crises caused by pandemics or climate change
- A shortage of medical staff
- The hospital of the future will need to optimise medical time and be better prepared for large-scale emergencies while improving patient experience and quality of work life for hospital staff
- The acceleration of digital health adoption driven by Covid-19 and the shift in patient mentality from passive to active offer tremendous new opportunities
- The hospital of the future will have to be more human-centric, efficient, flexible, and environmentally responsible
- Empowering patients and families seems key to allowing patients a more active role in their own healthcare in and out of the hospital, reducing hospital stays or even avoiding them
- Designing for quality of life in medical facilities is a central component of patient experience. This should include the creation of healing spaces that promote privacy and give patients a sense of control over their environment. Fostering connections with family and friends is also crucial
- Making hospitals ‘great places to work’ will support the work of medical staff and provide them with dedicated spaces for rest, in turn improving the patient experience
- Embracing digital health technologies is an opportunity to rethink the patient journey and encourage remote care monitoring and outpatient interventions to free up valuable hospital resources while ensuring continuity of care
- Smart buildings will allow medical staff to focus more on the human aspects of their work by speeding up day-to-day tasks. In addition, the use of a digital twin for the built environment will facilitate maintenance and help to reduce a hospital’s environmental impact and costs
- Designing for flexibility and quick reconfiguration will be essential to manage future emergency crises, accommodating patient surges while guaranteeing continuity of care for existing patients
- Reducing the environmental impact of hospitals is imperative. This could be achieved through reduced energy consumption, improved waste management and sustainable purchasing and procurement policies
- Encouraging sustainable patient journeys by avoiding wasteful or unnecessary stays could have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Just as the Covid-19 pandemic revealed the weaknesses in healthcare systems around the world and created an imperative to address these weaknesses, it also accelerated the adoption of digital health technologies which will facilitate the radical level of change required.
A deeper integration of digital technology, a raising of the bar in standards of sustainability and an approach that is fundamentally human-centred will ensure the hospital of the future delivers high quality cost-effective medical care that meets the needs of patients, medical staff, and the wider community, now and for the future.
Tarkett says it’s committed to playing an active role in this transformation, continuing to innovate and collaborate with the broad spectrum of partners across the global healthcare community to realise together the greatest potential of the hospital of the future.