They say that construction is slow to change. While that may be true, new ways of managing and delivering construction projects are starting to filter through and make an impact on the way we design and build projects. After all, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always get – construction projects that aren’t always fit for purpose, designed and built by overworked people who don’t understand the user’s needs. But this is changing.
A People-Centered Management Approach
People are at the heart of everything we do – whether it is designing a new space or using that space as a place to rest, recover, and heal. That’s why my Health Well Done approach (HWD3) uses the 3 people-centric principles of Healthy Patient, Healthy Team, and Healthy Project. Without keeping the people in mind, a construction project becomes a number-crunching exercise: delivering a set number of materials to an estimated schedule for a specified price. Managing and executing projects this way doesn’t deliver the spaces we need for better patient outcomes. But with this integrated project delivery approach, we can transform healthcare from done to well done.
Every healthcare construction project should be about the patient. Often, people are churning out numbers but they don’t mention the word “patient” or “people”, instead they use “FTEs” or “primary care person”. How many FTEs are needed to run the new facility? What price can we charge a primary care person for this treatment? But this keeps the focus only on today, and not on what’s best for the patient. If you start to think about who that person is and what their needs are while they are sick, it’s far easier to make the process more efficient and save money in the long run, whether by using good design or incorporating new technology. This is the Healthy Patient principle of the HWD3 approach.
Diversity + Collaboration = Better Projects
Having a diverse team that is working together for the same goal – creating a good experience for the patient – is how patient-centered spaces are created. There are so many building systems and technologies available for healthcare facilities that tying them together is a monumental task for just one person. But by working together as a team and sharing ideas, the best solutions can be found. And when everyone feels their voice is heard and that their contribution is valued, they are in the best place to deliver their best work. The Healthy Team principle is all about building strong connections and relationships that drive creative problem-solving.
Every construction project needs a process to guide it to completion. The Healthy Project principle is the backbone of the project, a way to document all the information that’s been collected and manage the project from start to finish. A well-structured project gives the team a clear roadmap on how the project is going to progress and help focus everyone’s efforts. This principle typically has five phases: initiation, planning, controls, implementation, and close out. Following this methodology will help keep projects on track when all the ideas of the team members start to converge.
No Longer Business As Usual
Expanded access to healthcare is driving the evolution of healthcare services and systems. But to create healthcare facilities effectively we need to rethink how clinical spaces can yield greater benefits. Modernizing the construction project delivery process is the key to delivering better projects, and ultimately, better outcomes for patients. To learn more about my HWD3 approach, check out my book, Health Well Done: A Patient-Centered Management Approach to Building Healthcare Environments. It provides clear guidance on how to put these 3 principles in action on your next healthcare project, for an integrated and effective approach.