The value Medical Planners add to a healthcare project

By Becky Hansel

September 05, 2017
Healthcare as an industry has been going through a period of tremendous transition. Changing healthcare regulations, innovative clinical technology and emerging delivery methodologies are evolving at an incredible pace and transforming patient care, making the planning and design of healthcare environments more complex than ever.

With half of our clients in healthcare, INVISION has committed to developing a highly-collaborative healthcare design studio including architects, interior designers, graphic designers and currently two medical planners.

Although the roles of architects and interior designers are more widely understood, many are less familiar with the specialized role of the medical planner. Medical planners’ actions and roles can be wide-ranging, but focus on three particular areas:

  • understanding the implications of the evolution of healthcare
  • Advocating for patients and users in the design
  • Ensuring compliance with applicable regulations

The pace of change in healthcare is constantly accelerating, requiring medical planners to constantly stay ahead of the curve to be able to bring knowledge of the latest trends and advances into the planning and design process. They conduct research and complete data analysis. In initial stages, data analysis often includes current state volumes, market-wide impacts, and strategic impacts that is then translated into projected volumes and future needs. This is especially important in strategic visioning, planning and programming to allow clients to objectively and accurately assess their current and future needs. Throughout the process medical planners advise on best practices and apply evidence to find opportunities for healthcare organizations to position their facilities to deliver the best patient outcomes and better serve their communities.

As the design develops, medical planners review options and provide feedback from the perspective of patients, visitors and staff. Architects and interior designers are always looking at how their work affects and supports those who live, work and play in the spaces they create, but medical planners have particular insight into the functioning of medical spaces and the needs of the patients and staff who use them. Throughout the process they serve as advocates for the those groups, and stewards of the design intent, ensuring that the final outcome delivers on the goals and vision of the initial planning.

The depth of medical planners’ knowledge and experience extends to regulatory compliance and their impacts on design. Healthcare, due to its critical importance in people’s lives, is subject to rigorous oversight and regulation. Medical planners propose options and review the design for compliance with building, life safety, FGI guidelines and other related regulatory requirements, ensuring the best possible facility for patient care.

Medical planners are a crucial connector between clients, patients, staff and designers. Engaged throughout the process, they make sure that best practices are embodied in the design, that the perspective of patients and staff is honored, and that regulations are met or exceeded.

If you have further questions about what medical planners do, or how INVISION can help you with your facility, please feel free to contact either of our medical planners — Kristina Mehmen or myself.