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How to Create Healthcare Design Ideas from “Healing-Flow”

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit: © macrovector | Fotolia

What is “Healing-Flow”?

The place to start innovating healthcare design ideas is by better understanding patient needs. This includes not only a deep understanding of what limits their healing process, but also a deep understanding of what propels their healing process. You see, there are ideal conditions which, when realized, can greatly help in making sure a patient gets the best possible care. And a strategic environmental design is critical to helping a patient’s ideal conditions for healing be realized.

One helpful activity, for designers of healthcare environments, is to create a patient workflow – or what may be better named a patient “healing-flow”. By tracking exactly what a patient goes through, step-by-step, you as a designer can find important bottlenecks that impede the healing process. From these bottlenecks, innovative healthcare design ideas surface. Furthermore, by following these bottlenecks to their sources, root healthcare problems can be uncovered and solved for within an environmental design.

Uncovering Sensory Bottlenecks

For example, patients in hospitals must often endure much noise that interrupts their sleep, adds unnecessary stress, and at times even leaves them feeling agitated. Thus, eliminating such noise from hospital environments would go a long way toward alleviating this pervasive patient bottleneck. Noise can impede healing – both directly and indirectly. Thus, innovative healthcare ideas can work to quiet hospital environments through equipment used by medical staff, through medical technologies used to treat the patient, and even through the architectural design itself.

As a designer, your innovative ideas can make all the difference in the way someone overcomes their illness. Thus, healthcare design is as much about fostering what heals as it is about eliminating what prevents healing. Environments need designers to pay special attention to the patient “healing-flow”. This teaches designers how to see their innovation from sensory angles, to better understand the nuances of the healing process, and to ensure one solution does not create a problem elsewhere within a healing environment.

Healthcare Environments that Grow

By creating and analyzing a patient “healing-flow”, you can uncover the narrative your healthcare environment must radiate. Just as each patient is different, your “healing-flows” will be different for varying patient types, illness treatments, and recovery plans. Thus, environments should grow with patients as they recover. And for this, different sensory needs surface. Innovation occurs as you push your design idea to do more for its occupants – at every stage of their healing.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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