Modern Healthcare honors the best-designed hospitals

Three international facilities get honored

Two new hospitals have won Modern Healthcare's 29th annual Design Award of Excellence, in part for their emphasis on social and education support for patients.

The entries were judged on design excellence, functional utility, flexibility, and response to patients and their families. A panel of judges awarded two Awards of Excellence, one Honorable Mention, and three Citations.

"The idea is that care of the patient goes beyond the acute episodes and it now involves social support and educational support in a nontraditional, holistic way," says James Bicak, vice president of facilities, engineering, and hospitality services at Sinai Health System and a Modern Healthcare judge. He adds, "the best projects illustrate how they incorporated that into their thinking, planning, and architecture. They all talked about engagement—not just patients and staff—but the whole family. The difference was in how they executed it."

The awards of Excellence went to:

  • Chris O'Brien Lifehouse Institute of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia; and
  • Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Winner: Chris O'Brien Lifehouse Institute

Past design award winners

The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse is a 96-bed integrated cancer-treatment center, including research, clinical trials, outpatient care, complementary therapies, and psycho-social support. The building was named after the founder of the Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, who designed the building with architecture firm Rice Daubney before he died from a brain tumor in 2009.

"A lot of Chris' vision was about patient dignity," says Rice Daubney's Ronald Hicks, adding that the building provides patients with a variety of spaces—indoor, outdoor, private, and community—so that they can choose how to deal with their illness.

Winner: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Spaulding's innovative design was put to the test very shortly after it opened in April 2013 when 32 survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings were brought in for rehabilitation treatment.

The site itself was a rehabilitated dumping ground for scrap metal, oil, paint, and other flammables along the Charles River. Now, patients can take advantage of the location through canoeing and other exercise opportunities. The Partners Healthcare hospitals has achieve LEED Gold certification.

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"They merged form and function to create an environment of physical, mental, and spiritual healing," says Modern Healthcare judge Nicholas Tejeda. (Tejeda is the CEO of Tenet Healthcare's Doctors Hospital of Manteca.)

Honorable mentions and citations

In addition to the two awards, Modern Healthcare gave an Honorable Mention to:

  • Owensboro Health Regional Hospitals (Owensboro, Kentucky).

The Citations went to:

  • Bridgepoint Active Healthcare facility (Toronto, Canada);
  • Nueva Expansion Hospital Observatorio (Mexico City, Mexico); and
  • University of Arizona Medical Center's Behavioral Health Pavilion and Crisis Response Center (Tucson, Arizona).

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Overall, the five recognized projects were able to "execute engagement and functionality" while echoing the local environment and geography, according to Bicak.

"Rather than introduce something exotic, there is a strong desire to let people understand that these facilities are in their community," Bicak says, adding that the buildings "make the statement that this is a community resource" (Robeznieks [1], Modern Healthcare , 9/6 [subscription required]; Robeznieks [2], Modern Healthcare, 9/6 [subscription required]; Robeznieks [3], Modern Healthcare, 9/6  [subscription required]).

The Advisory Board's take

Patrick Testa, Facility Planning Forum

The Modern Healthcare's best-designed hospitals share five common attributes—all of which are critical attributes for forward-looking acute-care facilities:

  • Functionally efficient;
  • Technologically-savvy;
  • Environmentally sustainable;
  • Readily adaptable to change; and
  • Patient and family-centered.

More broadly, these projects demonstrate a commitment to putting patients at the center of their planning and design efforts to create an environment that facilitates healing, strengthens patient safety, and delivers an exceptional experience. At the same time, the most innovative facilities engage patients far beyond an acute care episode—supporting ongoing health and wellness needs in the community.

Find out more about patient-focused design
In this Q&A with architecture and engineering firm BSA LifeStructures, we look at how to consider the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey when designing facilities. Read the Q&A now.


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