How can architecture help organise hospital management?
At the turn of the 21st century, then-Minister of Public Health approved the construction of the hospital of the future: “The hospital of the 21st century”. An important aspect of this new project was the integration of new technologies that put the patient first.
Several opportunities arise when building a new hospital. These include developing a new care concept, creating a new organisational structure and constructing a building that optimally supports this new organisation – a complex process that requires an integrated approach. A new care concept calls for a new organisational structure, both of which require an architectural design that engages with these two key aspects. Designing a hospital demands a critical assessment of the daily organisation’s daily operations. This thought process manifests itself in the design of a new building.
The care concept
The care concept that puts the patient first, as proposed by the former minister, has been adopted by the Orbis healthcare organisation. This organisation underwent an extensive transformation to ensure that this care concept could be implemented and translated into efficient architectural design. The trick was to design a building that not only focused on the patient’s health and treatment, but also on a general sense of wellbeing.
The hospital has been thematically divided into four functional areas: public, meeting, staying and working.
The building’s fundamental concept is based on a linear structure with the covered atrium as its axis. This atrium is bordered by the public and patient facilities, including the entrances, the reception areas, the catering facilities, parking access, waiting rooms and the consultation centre.
The meeting centre consists of standard consultation, research and treatment rooms. The doctors and support staff meet the patient in the research room. The care process is organised entirely around the patient.
All patients staying here have a private room, a private bathroom and a sofa bed for their guests. They can use the integrated bed controller to place meal orders and to close or open the curtains or the door to their room: hypermodern convenience at an affordable price. A self-reliant patient with access to state-of-the-art technology helps curb staffing costs. In a traditional hospital setting, these costs amount to roughly 65% of the budget. Integrated technology and new processes can reduce this figure to less than 50% – a worthwhile solution for the growing shortage of healthcare professionals.
The goal here is to maximise the interdisciplinary knowledge exchange between researchers and medical staff by creating an open work area with compartmentalised workstations, cockpits, lounge areas and meeting rooms. The design encourages a distinct separation of traffic flows; between the nursing and treatment units and general hospital traffic. Doctors and nurses have their own lifts, which are also used by the robotic carts used for internal transportation. Proper organisation of this theme will ensure that patient and professional only meet in the consultation, treatment or nursing rooms.
Experience has shown that new hospitals are heavily dependent on their ICT, human resource, finance and facility management departments. This new method of working aims to integrate the care organisation, the care concept and the available resources. Access to information, results-oriented management and flexible working conditions are all part of an efficient healthcare organisation.
A physical work and living environment is an integral part of the virtual and mental environment of all employees in a care organisation. Orbis Medical Centre is fully digitised and paperless. The electronic patient management system has been fully integrated into the primary care process. As a result, information can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
Recent technological advances, changing work processes, new collaboration techniques and business models have been translated into a new hospital design that supports the organisation and helps guide these processes.
Facts & Figures
Design Holland Hospital Architects
Total floor space: 112,500 m2
Total costs: 380 million euros
Construction and design duration: 3 years and 3 months
Hospital with 425 single rooms and 90 outpatient beds
Each room measures 3.30 x 3.50 metres, with a private bathroom, TV and internet connection
12 nursing units
16 intensive care beds
10 cardiology beds
8 operating rooms
126 consultation rooms
General Practitioner centre with 6 treatment rooms
Rehabilitation centre with 90 beds
Mental health centre with 56 beds
Care boulevard measuring 12,500 m2
with 14 healthcare businesses and institutions
Four catering facilities
Length 265 metres, height 25 metres
Garage with 1050 parking spaces
1 million bricks (glued)
2,500,000 kilos of construction iron
1,500,000 kilos construction steel
25,000 square metres of Chinese natural stone
12 robots that regulate hospital traffic
Computer-regulated ‘clothing centre’ with 6006 uniforms for doctors/nurses and 1500 uniforms for support staff
Power plant with a 4500 kW heating capacity (comparable to 300 homes)
Cooling capacity of 6000 kW (comparable to 400 air conditioning units)