Richard has a splendid story in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the hospital of the future. Appearing on the last day of his internship there, it’s a thought-provoking think piece about what the hospital of the future might look like.
I would expect communications technology to change hospitals, as it has changed law firms, retail stores, and just about every other business you can think of. To me, the most interesting part of the piece was about the physical design of hospitals, and specifically how hospitals are striving to make their facilities more inviting and capable of being “branded.” Rather than the institutional, brightly lit corridors most of us know, the new hospitals are warmer, gentler in their design and lighting, and chock full of things like gardens and coffee shops. They’re bound to be less depressing than the sterile, wholly functional designs of the past.
In that respect, Richard’s article made me think of colleges, and how their focus has changed from the professor and the classroom and the curriculum to the posh student centers, rec centers, and health clubs that so many schools have built to attract more applicants. We can bemoan the decline of serious scholarship on campus, but colleges clearly have recognized that they are competing for paying students and are willing to build what is needed to attract them. As hospital systems become more competitive for patients — and in Columbus, we’ve got three gigantic ones duking it out — they’re bound to follow suit.