Building design is important, especially in hospitals. The right design facilitates flow, improves communication and eliminates considerable wasted motion. And it is at least, if not more, important when several buildings are being constructed rather than just one.
Unfortunately, it seems that the people designing a new medical complex in
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and
But according to The Times-Picayune newspaper, the various design options recently unveiled by the organizations would result in “distinctly independent hospitals that appear to lack much of the ‘synergy’ the participating institutions once touted.”
The article, by Bill Barrow, also says the organizations “drifted apart in their planning processes.”
"I haven't heard any mention of synergy," said Elizabeth Merritt, an attorney for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, after seeing the plans for the 70 acres bound by Tulane Avenue, Claiborne Avenue, Canal Street and South Rocheblave Street. "It seems like there's not the level of coordination considering that was such as strong consideration in selecting this site."
Together, the two hospitals would total about 600 beds. The design options from LSU, which would provide two-thirds of the capacity, call for up to five inpatient towers, each with six stories.
There appear to be several issues here. The most obvious is that what should be a joint planning effort disintegrated into two independent efforts. This made impossible to do any value stream mapping, for example, to see whether the two projects have overlaps or disconnects that could be addressed.
I also wonder about having so many separate inpatient towers. I know nothing about hospital design, but I can’t help questioning whether the various departments of a hospital operate so independently that they should be physically separated from each other. I worry that this kind of design has the potential to create silos (almost literally) that will cause problems in communication and interaction.
A period for comments on the plans goes through the first week in February, with more public discussions at some point in the future.
Does anyone care to make a comment?