Build a Better Small Hospital

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media , March 2, 2011

The question comes from Kaiser Permanente, which is hosting the Small Hospital, Big Idea Competition. It's all about "[using] technology and innovative design to remove barriers to care, increase collaboration among our staff and between clinicians, patients, and their families. [Design ideas] should foster innovation, and create staffing efficiencies that allow us to deliver care to patients effectively and affordably," says Kaiser's competition Web site.

From the physical plant to what Kaiser calls the "total health environment," to the technology that helps staff improve on quality and patient satisfaction while keeping costs in check, what would it feel like to work there?

Designers, architects, students, engineers, and hospital leaders have a chance to start from scratch and submit their concepts for a hospital to be built "on a mostly flat, 30-acre site in a temperate climate." Who could do a better job than hospital leaders? No one, after all, understands how hospitals work better than the people who run them.

Kaiser will give finalists $750,000 to develop their ideas further. The winner will be eligible to contract with Kaiser on executing a full design.

As for technology taking a leading role in the winning entry: Count on it.

Cora Nucci is the Digital Associate Editorial Director for HealthLeaders Media.

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