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September 13, 2017

The best-designed new hospitals, according to Modern Healthcare

Daily Briefing

Modern Healthcare has announced the winners of its 32nd annual Design Awards, which recognize health care facilities that help patients and providers connect with nature and that can be easily adapted to a changing health care delivery model, Amanda Eisenberg writes for Modern Healthcare.

For the awards, a panel of eight judges evaluated 55 entries, submitted by registered architects, involving the design or redesign of a health care facility within the last two years. The judges assessed submissions based on overall design excellence, facility sustainability, design flexibility, functional utility, and responsiveness to patient and family needs.

This year's winners

The judges awarded the:

  • Gold Award to the Chicago-based Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a 27-story, 242-bed "translational" research hospital where scientists and clinical providers collaborate to work with patients. According to AbilityLab officials, the facility is designed to aid patients in rehabilitation, with patient rooms outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, quiet and active areas throughout the building, and bright graphic designs—even on the ceilings— to boost a sense of hopefulness. Ability Lab "exemplifies the patient-centered approach," Eisenberg writes, "earning it top marks this year."

  • Silver Award to the Virginia-based Children's Pavilion at Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, which houses almost all the hospital's pediatric services under one roof. The building incorporates nature into its aesthetic, with glass enclosures throughout, a three-story atrium at the pavilion's southeast corner, a sky lobby that lets patients access a rooftop terrace and garden, interactive walls and floors with nature scenes—and an array of energy-saving features, such as LED lights and daylight sensors.

  • Bronze Award to Florida-based Indian River Medical Center Scully-Welsh Cancer Center, which incorporates floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of nature from every examination room, and empowers patients by giving them "microchoices" throughout their stay regarding preferred levels of privacy and staff interaction. In addition, using Lean process analysis, the facility in its redesign cut patients' infusion treatments by 45 minutes. Todd Robinson—EVP at architecture firm ESa, who served as a judge—said of the facility's redesign, "It took advantage of evidence-based information but it also enhanced views of natural landscaping, utilized the outdoors as well as the indoors as a seamless design element."

  • Environmentally Friendly Award to Seattle-based Meridian Center for Health, a LEED Gold-certified building that recognizes local Native American healing traditions with locally sourced cedar exterior slabbing, a healing wall in the entry, an energy-efficient roof, and flexibly designed public waiting areas that can be reconfigured to serve as group education and therapy rooms. Patty Hayes, director of public health for Seattle and King County, said of the design, "What we know is that people who have been oppressed and have had bad experiences in the past didn't feel welcomed; they have that hesitancy," adding, "The staff are all trained in working with clients that have had super-stressed environments and a trauma-informed approach."


Robinson said the fact that the winners this year weren't "major acute-care facilities ...[speaks] to the times," particularly with the increased focus on flexible spaces that can be adapted depending on market needs.

Cecilia DeLoach Lynn—director of sector performance and recognition at Practice Greenhealth, who also served as a judge—similarly acknowledged the flexible design of this year's winners. "As health care policy and reimbursement continue to put a lot of stress on healthcare organizations, organizations are trying to build for the future and aren't sure what that future holds," she said.

DeLoach Lynn added that the health industry is "paying more and more attention to who their population is and how the building is situated in the fabric of the community and including the stakeholders, rather than reacting to their needs" (Eisenberg, Modern Healthcare, 9/8 [1]; Eisenberg, Modern Healthcare, 9/8 [2]; Eisenberg, Modern Healthcare, 9/8 [3]; Eisenberg, Modern Healthcare, 9/8 [4]; Modern Healthcare, 9/8; Modern Healthcare, 9/8).

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