How hospitals can prepare for tomorrow, today


Many hospitals today are building new sites or making substantial renovations. What strikes us is how their designs are often based almost entirely on a thorough analysis of their current medical services and workflows. But if a hospital building easily stands for 50+ years we clearly should also be looking ahead at how healthcare and patient journeys will evolve in the coming years because change will be inevitable and faster than ever before. 

Here’s at least 4 factors to consider in building or renovation plans:

How to keep innovating and adapting to change. The job is never “finished”. New tech will continue to evolve, likely more rapidly than ever. Medical knowledge is expanding exponentially. New crises and pandemics are probable. Even small hospitals will need to connect to science, research & innovation, not just to feed data to researchers through mandatory reporting, but also to pull data,  expertise and tech in, and collaborate in more decentralised research and innovation efforts. This is also about people, encouraging a research and innovation mindset among your own staff, and attracting and hosting external innovators on your campus. 

Patients will expect more and better digital experiences. Examine every step in the patient journey, from the moment of referral right through to rehabilitation at home, and explore how digital could improve outcomes, efficiency and patient delight. This obviously goes way beyond a website or app; it also encompassess telehealth, remote monitoring, patient education & coaching, virtual care programmes, digital therapeutics, the metaverse and all sorts of onsite technology (from screens and connectivity to advanced rehab equipment). Beyond a specific patient journey, it is also useful to look at the bigger picture, anticipating how technology could reconfigure the fundamentals of what the hospital will be doing in 20 years time, with whom and in which environmental and urban context.

Prevention and community health will become a priority. If they don’t, we’re facing a doom scenario of overwhelmed healthcare services. We need to get serious about obesity and healthy lifestyles, and hospitals have a key opportunity to serve their communities better as centres for nutritional advice, exercise training, mental health support and early disease screening. Digital can obviously play a pivotal role in this too.

Increasing shortages of medical staff. To compete for talent tomorrow, it’s important to create the best possible staff spaces and experiences today. Also, your building will probably house a lot more robotic technology in the coming years. Already we see amazing developments in next generation medical devices automating surgeries.

Keynotes and workshops as engines of change

These are just some of the issues we explore in workshops and keynote presentations with hospital audiences. Keynotes are great to energise staff and build momentum for change. In workshops we can go deeper and start looking more pragmatically at specific patient journeys, not just from a AS-IS vs TO-BE perspective, but from 4 different perspectives. 

A workshop – even a ½ day workshop – is also a super efficient tool for prioritising a set of interventions and building an alliance of champions to carry those projects forward. 

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