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September 9, 2015

Modern Healthcare names the best-designed hospitals

Daily Briefing

Four new facilities have won Modern Healthcare Design Awards for creating "a healing environment" that is also flexible and efficient, Andis Robeznieks reports for Modern Healthcare.

A panel of eight experts evaluated 58 entries for overall design, environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, flexibility, functional utility, and responsiveness to patient and family needs.

Among the judges, "there was general agreement that the winning entries succeeded in melding the healing environment and value-based design concepts into projects that achieved smooth workflows, patient-centered amenities, and stunning visuals," Robeznieks writes.

The judges gave out Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards, and for the first time honored a facility with the Senior-Friendly Design Award.

Gold Award Recipient

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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in West Harrison, New York, is a $75 million outpatient facility that opened last October. It features a broad range of cancer treatment services and patient friendly amenities, like sunlit rooms and chemotherapy infusion chairs with outdoor views, Robeznieks writes.

In a nod to wellness, the building features a prominent staircase in the lobby. "The architects have taken [the stairs] out of the dark part of the building and made them an integral part of the facility," says judge Rulon Stacey, a former hospital CEO and current professor of health administration at the University of Minnesota.

Silver Award Recipient

St. Charles Medical Center–Bend's old radiation oncology unit is located a mile away from its medical oncology unit—and "a lot of patients needed to go to both," says architect Karl Sonnenberg of ZGF. That led to the construction of the St. Charles Cancer Center in Bend, Oregon, a $10 million outpatient facility that opened in August 2014.

The design is patient-centered but—drawing on feedback from oncology staff—is also intended to be efficent for employees, Robeznieks writes. The cancer center also makes the most of its views of a nearby dormant volcano with floor-to-ceiling windows. "They clearly began from a patient's perspective and asked, 'What can we do to make it more pleasing and enhance the patient's ability to get well?,'" says Stacey.

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Bronze Award Recipient

Prebys Cardiovascular Institute is part one of a three-stage renovation to the Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla campus in San Diego. The $456 million, 167-bed institute opened in March and focuses on proving cutting-edge care in a flexible, patient-friendly environment.

The building features rooms that are designed to accommodate new technologies as they become available. Currently, the facility houses advanced imaging facilities, research labs, and ORs, and there is also room for a future ED. The exterior, Stacey says, is "visually stunning," while the interior is "convenient," with a layout designed to promote efficiency among staff.

Last year's Design Award winners

Senior-Friendly Design Award Recipient

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center's Center for Advanced Care in Chicago received the inaugural Senior-Friendly Award. In this category, facilities were judged based on the extent to which they meet the needs of elderly patients, such as having noise-reduction measures, entrances designed to help patients walk with caregivers, and features for reducing patient falls.

According to Robeznieks, the winning recipient has a design that is welcoming, open, and easy to navigate for seniors, with a central corridor from which patients can see entrances to all departments.

Judge Henry Chao, the healthcare design director at HOK Architects, says the facility is also exemplary of a recent trend to make health care facilities blend into their neighborhoods (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 9/5 [1]; Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 9/5 [2]; Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 9/5 [3]; Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 9/5 [4]; Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 9/5 [5]).

The Advisory Board's take

Patrick Testa, Facility Planning Forum

With continued pressure on the cost of construction, health care facilities must balance efficient design with a healing environment. The winners of this year's Modern Healthcare Design Awards were able to create sustainable, adaptable buildings that keep the patient in the center of their design and care model.

Find out more about patient-focused design
In this Q&A with architecture and engineering firm BSA LifeStructures, we look at how to consider the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey when designing facilities. Read the Q&A now.

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