Jennifer Kovacs Silvis, Editor-in-Chief at Healthcare Design Magazine, gives IC4HD her point of view about healthcare design industry and future trends.
Healthcare Design magazine, its website, and its live events (including HCD Expo + Conference), are collectively the industry’s best source of information, insight, and motivation for the creation of healthcare spaces that promote healing, support clinician and staff workflows, and contribute to a healthcare system’s bottom line.
What is your pulse on the healthcare design industry at the moment?
The healthcare design industry has spent the past year deeply involved in the response to COVID-19, partnering with healthcare providers to identify/modify spaces to support patient surge, create testing and triage sites, rethink entry sequences and support social distancing, and integrate design and environmental solutions that allow facilities to remain open and safe. However, through it all, new healthcare construction projects were still in progress and, thankfully, we haven’t heard of many significant delays or cancellations. Our sense is that the industry remains strong and optimistic for the future. Healthcare design will certainly change after this, and our industry is ready to help providers navigate what’s to come.
In presence vs virtual events: what are your feelings about the opportunities of these different ways?
The ability to hold virtual events in absence of in-person gatherings has been a lifesaver for this industry. Even as we grow weary of Zoom meetings, the ability to connect with others and interact in real time is invaluable. This new normal has challenged event producers like EmeraldX to rethink how we traditionally create and share content, connect industry members, and showcase new products and services. What we’ve realized along the way is that virtual platforms allow us to reach new people and engage with the industry in an entirely new way. And so we anticipate an opportunity for both in-person and virtual channels to exist and demand for hybrid events to grow.
But with that said, no matter how good a virtual event, you can’t replace the magic of being together physically — there are some human experiences you just can’t replicate via technology. Touching and testing products first-hand cannot be fully reproduced online, and our buyers miss that. We’re hearing from both attendees and exhibitors that they are incredibly eager to get back to this kind of interaction this fall.
Can you identify any particular trend that has become increasingly important in healthcare projects due to Covid emergency?
One lesson that’s emerged from this crisis is the importance of having flexible and adaptable spaces in healthcare facilities. It’s not necessarily a new topic for the design industry, but the value of such solutions has now been proven. Hospitals and other settings that were able to quickly modify their spaces to accommodate patient surge or introduce heightened infection control initiatives benefited from existing infrastructure and architecture that allowed it. While another event at the scale of COVID-19 may not occur again within the lifespan of a healthcare facility being built/renovated today, these principles will be critical to managing similar crises, such as mass-casualty incidents, natural disasters, seasonal spikes in volume such as flu season, and other epidemic or pandemic scenarios. We anticipate healthcare organizations will make it a priority to invest in flexible/adaptable solutions on projects going forward.
Italian Contract 4 Hospitality Design, besides coordinating the participation to Healthcare Design Expo+Conference (Cleveland, OH, October 23 to 26, 2021), creates connections between Italian companies and the professionals of healthcare design sector in the US. To read the series of IC4HD interviews, follow IC4HD interviews