Healthcare: Making Every Moment Meaningful

Timed to coincide with NeoCon, Steelcase published the latest edition of its 360 Magazine,  with a key article focused on healthcare entitled: “Healthcare: Making Every Moment Meaningful.” Stretching our thinking and challenging the status quo, this article, which discusses the idea of patient-centered care, clinician empowerment, and inclusion of loved ones along with how technology is affecting it all – even in times of transition – is absolutely befitting during an era where every notion of healthcare is being reexamined.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The healthcare industry is in radical transition. Rising costs and unacceptably poor outcomes are causing healthcare leaders to shift from an illness-based system to a wellness-driven model. New technologies, new processes and higher expectations of both patients and practitioners is challenging healthcare norms to adapt and improve. The need for radical innovation has never been more critical.

A study of the journey of patients, conducted by a team of Steelcase Health researchers, uncovered a significant opportunity for improving the healthcare experience. They observed how much time people spent waiting: waiting for direction, waiting for consultation, waiting for results. They saw people waiting and wasting the currency of our era: time.

The researchers saw this waiting happen repeatedly in spaces that offered little more than rows of armchairs squeezed into tight and dehumanizing formations.

They saw patients and their families awaiting critical information, anxious because they were in locations that were out of the sightline of the caregiver.

They saw people unable to perform focused activities or access medical information, and little or no emphasis on privacy, making technology accessible or providing comfort. And they saw no opportunity for people to connect with family members and caregivers in a private and respectful manner.

More often than not, patients and loved ones were placed in a holding pattern while they waited. In essence, time stood still. No thought or insight was given to how people might potentially spend their valuable time. The result was, and continues to be, a frustrating experience for the patient, and a lost opportunity for the provider…” (Read the full story.)

It Matters: Productive, Human Experiences

After reading the article, you’ll realize that making every moment meaningful takes more than pretty, calming environments. Instead, it’s about creating productive, people-centered, human experiences.

“We’re finding that connections with other people, information and technology also plays a role,” says Rob Heitmeier, Steelcase Health General Manager. “And the process of getting better is no longer solely confined to clinical spaces.”

Alan Rheault, Director of Industrial Design for Steelcase Health, says, “It’s exciting to think about common spaces in ways that go beyond aesthetics…Ultimately we’re looking to solve for a broad array of experiences that have the potential to happen within these areas.”

Do you agree? Can common spaces go beyond aesthetics? Are common spaces already working hard enough or can the spaces do more?

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