What would a patient room look like if the architecture, products, technology, and medical processes were all designed in unison? That is the question that sparked the initiation of the Patient Room 2020 Fellowship Project in 2009. With support from the Department of Defense, NXT partnered with Clemson University’s Healthcare + Architecture Graduate Program to begin answering this question. The end result was a conceptual proposal that demonstrated how the integration of these key components could streamline the delivery of care, improve patient outcomes and redefine the medical experience in the 21st Century. In 2010, Patient Room 2020 won a national design award from the Center for Health Design affirming that experts recognized the potential of such a design to create a new medical experience. From 2010-2012, NXT funded the continued development of the concept through the fellowship program. The focus of this effort was to enlist industry partners to join the team in creating a full-scale prototype of Patient Room 2020 that could be further tested and evaluated in a simulated setting.

The 2010 conceptual proposal for Patient Room 2020 focused on providing a design response to key challenges in the healthcare marketplace including:

  • Aging facilities with a back-log of construction projects due to economic downturn (average hospital age = 27 years)
  • Demand for healthcare services predicted to be up 25% over next 10 years due to aging and growing insured population
  • Federal mandates for technology (EMR) adoption by 2015
  • Payment now linked to patient quality and satisfaction outcomes
  • Preventable medical errors kill 98,000 people per year
  • Need for streamlining to reduce costs (over $2B in waste annually)

These challenges demanded innovative solutions and platforms to re-think how inpatient care is delivered. Patient Room 2020 is the unifying element that brings together architecture, technology, care processes, and human factors into a holistic, systematic solution for the inpatient care experience. The project conceptualizes what could be possible in the next ten years by harnessing developing technologies that are on the horizon and integrating them with the surrounding architectural environment. The goals of the project lay the foundation of the design:

  • Humanize the healthcare experience by promoting personal customization, control, and comfort for patients, family, and staff.
  • Restore health by promoting therapeutic outcomes through the prevention of adverse events (such as patient falls), hospital acquired infections, and medication errors; as well as the creation of a safe and healthy work environment for staff.
  • Streamline operational processes and work patterns in order to improve efficiency, limit the ability for mistakes to occur, and increase staff time for direct patient care
  • Empower individuals through improvements in collaboration between staff, patients and families by providing on-demand access to information and resources, which can increase patient advocacy and participation in the care delivery process.
  • Adapt the physical environment to compliment varied user preferences, as well as streamline the design and construction phase of a hospital project for healthcare systems through the utilization of customizable and environmentally sustainable pre-fabrication technologies.

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