All posts tagged “Virtual Reality”

Virtually Confronting the Behavioral & Mental Health Crisis

The influence of telehealth and the built environment in today’s mental healthcare climate

In 2021, on the first day of February, my family of four became a family of three. Liam, my 15-year-old son, had the world at his feet; a great student, boy scout, multi-sport athlete, kind friend, leader, amazing big brother and an energetic soul. Despite the endless list of reasons to love his life, he made the decision to end it. Read More …

The Hospital of the Future

The edge of innovation and the possibility horizon

Hospitals will always be a place people make pilgrimages to — for healing and care — but the dynamics and degree of the pilgrimage is changing at a more rapid pace than ever before. And, as the world gets more technologically oriented and digitally savvy, it is becoming much easier to imagine the future than remember the past. The nimbleness of the healthcare industry in response to the pandemic has been a major catalyst and will likely accelerate our applying the technology opportunities available. But, what does all this “technology opportunity” mean for hospital planning and design? Below are some imaginations on what could be in the future. I’m not a futurist, but rather a visionist — always trying to reveal the possibilities in my mind’s eye.

Virtual reality

Ideally, virtual reality will improve patients’ comfort, sense of control and social support, helping to reduce stress, entertain and combat loneliness. Patients previously unable to leave their beds can now do so via immersive, multisensory virtual experiences. This may happen very soon, especially given the Metaverse in development by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta and the announced partnership on Nov. 10 between Meta and Microsoft to allow integration of software products.

Augmented reality

There’s potential for augmented reality to improve access, wayfinding and patient safety by identifying patients upon entry and arrival, supplementing visitor views with improved information of where to go. Patient registrars will be a thing of the past, replaced by greeters whose goal is improving consumer satisfaction through immediate personal attention. Clinicians will be able to identify patients and access data through their AR view instead of scanning wristbands and interfacing with workstations to call up information. Emergency departments could have sub-units for “biorepair” for biologically integrated devices; as our physiology extends to include applied technology, these integrated devices will need maintenance and mending. AR could also improve procedural treatments — informing clinicians of data without looking up from the patient to an archaic monitor across the room, helping them to maintain visual focus on the procedure and not data on ancillary screens.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence will improve pattern understanding, diagnosis accuracy and speed, treatment planning and clerical functions. It has the opportunity to reduce manual human work both medically and administratively. More time can be spent on the consumer experience and relationship, while reducing officing space and personnel required for clerical operations. We are already seeing key strategic partnerships related to this; in May 2021, HCA Healthcare and Google Cloud announced they are teaming to accelerate this digital transformation. The press release noted the partnership is “to help create a secure and dynamic data analytics platform for HCA Healthcare and enable the development of next-generation operational models focused on actionable insights and improved workflows.” The goal in the partnership is to leverage data from HCA Healthcare’s 32 million patient encounters with Google’s Could Healthcare Data Engine and BigQuery, a serverless, multi-cloud warehouse. This wealth of data and AI analytic ability will combine to develop algorithm-informed clinical decision assistance, as well as improve quality, safety and outcomes by identifying clinical practice improvement opportunities.

But, it’s not just clinical care in the crosshairs of the AI opportunity, it’s also support services optimization analytics —mined insights could improve supply chain management, physical plant or support personnel utilization.

The AI opportunity on the horizon is incredibly exciting and will likely spur even more integrated, interoperative technology via connected softwares and hardwares —such as monitoring devices or health record optimizers. Of course, as AI advances to improve healthcare, so too will the focus on patient privacy and personal data security.

Hospital at-home/virtual beds

We have seen the shift of lower-acuity care out of the hospital for a while now. This will continue as virtual beds become more feasible with technology integration and connectivity. The impact is likely improving the consumer experience by reducing the need to be cared for in the hospital proper. Patients will be connected by the above-mentioned technologies, and mobile care teams will be deployed with required equipment. The potential impact is greatest for patients in observation status or rehabilitation. Complex care will absolutely stay in the hospital for the proximity it requires. This paradigm shift has already started. One example is New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and its Hospital-At-Home Program, with a predicted 30% of inpatient care to soon be executed at home. And, Intermountain Health is establishing “virtual hospitals” with their Connect Care Pro program bringing specialized care to rural communities. “Clinical command centers” will be required to properly operate this model.


University of Waterloo Engineering Building, Ontario, Canada. Spaces we’re accustomed to seeing in higher education environments will become more prevalent in the hospital and academic medical – particularly maker spaces geared to discovery in technology application.

Nanomacies will be a new department and space. What’s a nanomacy? It could be the blended functions of pharmacy, clinical lab, biomedical maker spaces —facilitating the integration of nanotechnology and personalized medicine. Also, the impetus for why we will need “biorepair units” mentioned above.

Supersonic networking and clouded-care

All of the above will require extreme computing and data support. Today we talk of logistics buildings; in the future we will talk also of “data hubs” — onsite data centers with power and capacity beyond what has been seen to date. Communication closets will become data shafts competing with MEP systems for infrastructure space king.

Drones & robotics

Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Support services are evolving to improve supply chain distribution efficiency. Robot-guided vehicles will become the norm.

Support services flow and clinical care transport will be supplemented by drones. Fleets of drones will have to be stored, charged and operated from droneports. Clinical care in the hospital and at home will increasingly be supported by robotics of all scales. We already have clients looking to integrate drones into just-in-time support models.


So, as we think about the hospital of the future, it will always be our community beacon for healing and care. But its borders are digitally extending, and the pilgrimage we make to it possibly getting more convenient, shorter and digitally. The pilgrimage may even be reversing in some cases, where the care journeys to us and not the other way around.

Top Tips for Acing Virtual Hospital Construction Site Visits, Building Inspections

It goes without saying the COVID pandemic has hit the AEC industry hard. It impacted every aspect of construction. The supply chain of construction material was severely affected by lockdowns and restrictions. The number of construction workers, Read More …

Impact of Technology on Engineering, Design + Construction Post-COVID-19

Technology was changing the face of the engineering industry before COVID-19 and it will certainly play an even greater role in the design process after the pandemic ends. To survive in such a dynamic and turbulent environment, engineering firms will need to think bigger. Read More …

Researchers Investigate Impact of Actual, Virtual Nature on Cancer Patients

Researchers at Houston Methodist Cancer Center are exploring whether exposure to nature, through either a live garden or virtual reality, can alleviate pain and distress in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, possibly reducing the need for prescription narcotics. Read More …

Technology, Prefab Deliver New CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline Patient Care Tower

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. recently completed the CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi – Shoreline, new patient care tower, located in Corpus Christi, Texas. The new tower, which broke ground in July 2016, was completed 41 days ahead of the contracted completion date. Part of the hospital’s master facility plan, Read More …

Phase II Expansion at Jefferson Health Cherry Hill Hospital Underway

CHERRY HILL, N.J. — CallisonRTKL has been engaged by Jefferson Health to provide design services for a new six-story bed tower at the health system’s Cherry Hill campus located in New Jersey. Read More …

Enhancing Healthcare Planning Through Virtual Reality

Healthcare facility planning is changing as virtual reality enables clients, users and owners to step into the planning process as never before. High-tech buzzwords – Revit, cloud, mobile apps, augmented reality and virtual reality – are becoming the transformative tools of the trade. Over the past few years, Read More …

Changing the Game with Virtual Reality

More than 600 studies link aspects of hospitals’ built environments to staff stress and effectiveness, patient safety, patient and family stress and healing, and improved overall healthcare quality and cost, according to research* conducted by Roger Ulrich and Craig Zimring. Read More …

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