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Connect Healthcare 2017—Design & Technology: The Promise of Wellness

Telehealth, self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence, and mobile devices will have a huge impact on healthcare over the next few years, according to industry experts who spoke on Connect Healthcare 2017’s panel, Design & Technology: The Promise of Wellness. You can read a re-cap of all the panels here.

The panel, moderated by Transwestern’s Daina Pitzenberger, tackled the evolving design of waiting rooms and common areas in MOBs, as well as the ongoing retailization of healthcare.

Hobb+Black Architects’ Betsy Wagner said waiting rooms are getting smaller, but her firm has yet to design any medical facilities without them. She noted that they’re working on multi-practice MOBs that have a hospitality feel with coffee bars and lounge seating on the ground floor.

Adventist’s Health Steven Stubbs said technology has helped his healthcare system address how long patients have to wait in waiting rooms, but pointed out that wait time ranks low on the list of patient priorities behind cleanliness and friendliness of staff.

Stubbs said Adventist Health would be willing to consider more retail locations if there were more opportunities in which they operate. “I’m always jealous of the Midwest when I hear about these [adaptive reuse opportunities]” he joked. “In California where we operate, we’re looking at greenfield development and the occasional retail space.”

Inception Property Group’s Adam Matar said health systems like Adventist Health may be disrupted by the arrival of artificial intelligence. “With AI, there’s the possibility that 90% of the care could be done through this technology,” he noted.

The panel spent a great deal of time discussing telemedicine. Pitzenberger noted that telemedicine is the only source of healthcare in many rural areas today since so many community hospitals have closed.

HKS’ Jeff Kabat contended that designing facilities to accommodate telehealth isn’t a problem—it’s the infrastructure and telehealth technology itself that poses the challenge.

Matar made an important point about the need for simplicity of telehealth technology. “The more complex the technology, the less accessible it is,” he said, adding that the next generation of wireless technology will create a second wave of innovation.

All the panelists were intrigued and excited about the ways that self-driving vehicles would impact the healthcare industry. The consensus is that they have the potential to make healthcare more accessible to people who can no longer drive due to age, illness, or disability. These cars also will impact the amount of parking necessary on hospital campuses and medical office buildings.

For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec

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