I am glad that 2020 is behind us and we can look forward to Covid resolution in 2021. As I examine the toll the virus has taken on hospitals, I realize that many fiscal as well as physical changes are necessary moving forward. I believe that future hospital design will feature a dynamic tension between infection prevention and flexibility. Hospital bed counts for overnight stays will be the sole purpose of the main hospital building for the foreseeable future. We will protect our vulnerable populations by further isolating care for seniors, heart patients, diabetics, emergency patients and children. We have already seen this movement towards free-standing specialty clinics and this concept will continue to grow. We call it the "hub and spoke" model. The hub being the main hospital with the spokes formed with individual specialty services.
As planners and designers, we will become proficient in the needs for each population and assist owners in rebranding these facilities. We will select materials not only based on durability, but also review the finish or fabric's ability to stop the growth of microbes. Careful considersation as to the properties of materials will require research and a proven track record for success. Healthcare organizations will depend on our knowledge and foresight to recommend the best possible design selections for the budget. These organizations are in a critical balance between addressing the need for separating patient populations, making the most of outpatient options, and in the end, making money to offset the costs of the pandemic. Historically, outpatient business has been a lucrative venture for healthcare owners. This will be even more important in the coming years.
Our expertise in planning and our experience in mitigating the transfer of infection through our designs will be paramount to our clients. We have never seen such importance placed on our knowledge as we perceive it now.. Take the baton and be sensitive to revamping the delivery of healthcare. Architects, designers and engineers need to understand that we are shaping the future of healthcare with careful consideration to patient groups. It is a tumultuous time in healthcare, but perhaps a positive leap forward in the evolution of healthcare design.