Functional Headwall
Virtual Environment Simulation
Nosocomial Infection Control (NIC)

Healthcare Design of the Future is a series of interdisciplinary courses that focus on research and design for quality care and experience for patients, families and caregivers. The curriculum explores the possibilities of creating a safe, soothing and healing environment that increases patient, family and caregiver satisfaction while facilitating flexible use of space.

The Patient and Family

Research has shown that environmental factors in the hospital and the ability to control one's environment can affect the recovery and healing process.

  • How can we better integrate factors such as light, color and view windows into the design of a future patient room to help positively impact patient recovery?
  • Can we design a patient room that departs from the traditional institutional feel and instead provides an environment closer to a hotel or spa — a calming and peaceful atmosphere?
  • As caregiving methods evolve, what kind of comfortable seating, work environment, guest sleeping and storage in a patient room will help visiting family members feel more comfortable and help provide quality care?
  • How might we design new media or information system for patients and their families?
  • What might be the best configuration for a patient room given the needs of the caregiver, patient and family?

The Hospital and Its Staff

Better space planning and room layout can positively impact numerous facets of the hospital function (e.g. an improved patient handling transfer system may reduce the amount of patient falls and caregiver injuries, a better designed patient room layout could improve doctor/patient communication, more usable furniture and devices can assist the hospital staff is finding and fetching supplies).

  • How might we create a patient room that can facilitate natural transition between all patient tasks of daily care?
  • With more diagnostic and therapeutic procedures being performed at the bedside, what kind of products, furniture, devices and work space can best accommodate ease of maintenance and equipment maneuverability?
  • What does it mean to have wireless and sensor networks in the patient room that connect to medical records and health treatment information?
  • How do we design visual barriers on computer screens for information confidentiality? What is the role and effects of technology for patients of varying age?
  • With rising costs and decreasing nurse retention rate, can we embody research to design better environment to increase efficiency while reducing fatigue and stress for the clinical staff?

These are just some of the questions we explore in this interdisciplinary class...