Defining The Next Generation’s Focus

Jan 11, 2016

Why: The American healthcare industry is undergoing a major transition. As the next generation of healthcare administrators and facility designers, constructors and operators enters the industry, it must be prepared to move into this evolving environment. Both the next generation of professionals and the facilities they provide will need to be flexible and adaptable to changes in technology, healthcare delivery methods and revenue streams. Decentralized service delivery and the complex organizations that will deliver such services, will require professionals to be collaborative, adaptive and multi-disciplinary. Educational models must support specialization, coupled with generalized knowledge across facilities, finance, business and health. Strategic thinking and experiential learning is essential.

What: This white paper addresses the future of healthcare design and construction—specifically how future generations of professionals engaged in the administration, design, construction and operation of healthcare facilities will engage in the delivery of services and how facilities will help deliver such services. Based on interviews with eight leaders in the industry, several themes emerged.

1. Advancing technology, costs, the decentralization of services, and the evolution of a continuum of care should drive the questions posed by the next generation of professionals.
2. Issues facing future generations were closely related to the questions they will be asking. These issues include facility adaptability, expansion of technology, integrated healthcare delivery methods, changing revenue models, evidence-based design, and public education on the benefits of specific healthcare delivery models.
3. Educating future generations of healthcare facility professionals will require a broader-based academic experience, on-the-job learning, and systematic thinking.
4. Characteristics of future leaders include tolerance for ambiguity, awareness of technology. and the ability to simultaneously generalize and specialize.
5. Hopes and expectations for the future include providing healing environments and accessing evidence in support of these environments.

How To develop this white paper, the Academy for Healthcare Infrastructure and the facilitator identified five key questions to pose to industry leaders and subject matter experts:

1. What questions should the next generation be asking?
2. Upon what issues should the next generation be focused?
3. What are the educational and professional experiences that will differentiate the current generation from the next generation?
4. What are the characteristics that will define the leaders of the next generation?
5. What are the hopes and expectations of the next generation?

Over the course of one month in mid-2015, the facilitator individually interviewed eight experts for a period of 30 to 45 minutes. In addition to answering the five questions posed by the interviewer, the interviewees raised additional topics of interest. This additional information was also captured. In a few cases, interviewees followed up with emails containing further thoughts. The facilitator analyzed each interview using the methodology described in Naturalistic Inquiry, by Lincoln and Zuba (1991). The white paper captures the collective results from the expert interviews.

Mardelle Shepley, FAIA (Cornell University)
Presented at: 
National Institute of Building Sciences Building Innovations 2016 Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Academy for Healthcare Infrastructure

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