Why a health system cares about the buildings it doesn’t build: Moderating AIA-DC Panel 10/8/14

“Growing Screens” – Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center

What’s a doctor doing a moderating a distinguished group of panelists tomorrow evening on Improving Health Through Active Design | AIA DC? Well, come and find out 🙂 .

It’s hosted by American Institute of Architects (@WashingtonDCAIA) at the gorgeous District Architecture Center in Washington, DC, USA (of course).

Here’s the why:

  • Our model of care is changing – 50% of our touchpoints with patients are in person, down from almost 100% in 2003
  • In a model of care like ours, where we are reimbursed for health instead of sickness, we seek out health for our members wherever it is
  • Most human beings spend their time in buildings, and mostly not in health care buildings.
  • Our iconic founder, Sidney Garfield, MD, hoped to be an architect before he was a doctor, so as a result we have a robust facilities innovation program (including the groundbreaking “Total Health Environment” program, where we are leading the way in green building in health care at the same time. (see: Through the eyes of interior architects: The new Garfield Innovation Center + future of healthy building | Ted Eytan, MD )

The photograph in the post above is just one visual example of how any facility can be made healthier. John Kouletsis, AIA, EDAC
Vice President, Facilities Planning & Design, Kaiser Permanente:

Designing for health? We do this a lot, but many of the examples would be invisible to the casual observer. Prohibiting the use of PVC, HDPE (high density polyethylene) piping, and fire retardant chemicals in the furniture that is specified for KP projects are all good examples of the “invisibles.” Visible examples would be some of our building lobbies where we make sure that the stairs are the most prominent feature, leading people to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Westside Medical Center in the NW Region did a very unusual thing with the multi-story parking garage–they have “growing screens” to shield the neighbors from the view of parked cars and light spill over from cars in the parking structure at night. The green screens are watered from rainwater that is collected for that purpose. While being an attractive screen, they also clean the air.

I get to call John my colleague. He and his team are partners in producing health with our doctors, nurses, and members. That’s why a doctor wants to moderate a panel on designing for health!

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