2023 HCD Conference Preview: Future-Proofing Emergency Departments

He Healthcare Design Conference + Exhibition 2023 will be held November 4-7 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The annual event will offer a variety of keynote and breakout sessions on a variety of topics.

Sanitary design offers a preview of some of the upcoming educational sessions in a series of Q&As with speakers, sharing what they plan to discuss and the key points they plan to deliver to attendees.

Session: Future-Ready Emergency Departments: Adaptive Environments to Support Community Crises

Speakers: Dr. Ben Bassin, vice president of Blue Cabin by CannonDesignand co-founder of Emerging Healthcare Design Consulting; Brian Silva, associate vice president of cannon design; Cemal Sozener, co-founder of Emerging Healthcare Design Consulting; and Steven Petrovic, executive director of Emergency Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery at University of Cincinnati Health.

Flexible and resilient emergency design strategies

Sanitary design: Why is it important for healthcare organizations to rethink their emergency departments to make them more flexible and resilient?

Dr. Ben Bassin

Dr. Ben Bassin (Photo credit: CannonDesign)

Dr. Ben Bassin: The way we provide emergency care today already looks very different than it did when I left emergency medicine residency 15 years ago. The pressures on the emergency care system will continue to evolve and change, and emergency departments (EDs) will need to look very different than they do today.

Most current EDs were not designed to address the scale of crises we now face, including global infectious disease pandemics, mass shootings, climate change driving massive increases in natural disasters, mental health and escalation of violence against health workers.

All of these factors have completely changed the way our SUs must operate on any given day, month or year. The built environment cannot be a static monument that cannot evolve or change with health needs.

The environment must be dynamic, flexible, moldable and resilient. Now, more than ever in our history, we must pay attention and think creatively about how our buildings can enable and not hinder the future of care delivery.

What types of adjacent or flexible spaces should be considered?

Steven Petrović

Steven Petrovic (Photo credit: UC Health)

Esteban petrovich: If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our ability to adapt to all situations is essential. For that reason, we not only need to rapidly scale up and deploy personnel, equipment, and operational readiness plans, but we also need the physical environment to scale up and adapt.

We have seen this flexible care model combined with flexible spaces in physician triage models, vertical treatment zones, and emergency intensive care units (ICUs). We now propose this new model to have similar flexibility/surge room for mass casualty incidents, pandemic surges, disasters, and other just-in-time needs.

Can you give an example that you can share and briefly explain what it helped address?

Cemal Sozener

Cemal Sozener

cemal Sozener: One example we will share is a novel, large, flexible community space we are designing for a leading Level 1 academic trauma ED adjacent to their waiting area.

The intended use for this space most of the time is as an attached waiting room and cafeteria. However, it is designed to quickly transform into an open treatment area complete with integrated medical accessories that can be used for a variety of emergency and mass casualty scenarios.

As the recent pandemic and increasing mass casualty incidents in our communities have taught us, maximizing innovation and flexibility in our built environment is the key to providing the necessary facilities for clinical staff to better manage the next unknown emergency situation. This type of future state thinking and innovative design is critical when building a clinical space that will need to adapt to the unknown emerging clinical demands of the future.

What do you hope attendees learn from your session?

Petrovic: The increasing need for preparedness is real, and our current environments are generally inadequate for the wide range of needs in response to a pandemic or natural or man-made disaster.

By partnering with local, state, and federal elected officials, level one trauma centers have the opportunity to develop novel concepts that improve preparedness for these events with more manageable costs to the healthcare system.

For more information on the HCD Conference schedule and registration, visit hcdexpo.com.

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