Expert’s Corner: Tim E. Krawetz on Technology in Healthcare
Tim Krawetz, senior principal and Syska’s healthcare practice area leader, has much to say on the topic of technology in healthcare.
Recently, he discussed his views with Rita Tatum of Building Operating Management, who included them in an article entitled “How Technology is Evolving in Healthcare Facilities.”
Tim identified the main challenge for healthcare design teams: “Technology is evolving at an incomprehensible speed.” This means that over the five or six years during which a hospital building is designed and constructed, there will probably be refinements to existing technologies, or completely new technologies “may just show up.” Flexibility, as the reporter noted, is a must.
Patients seek flexibility too – they want control over their environment. These days, control might include hand-held remotes that enable patients to select levels of lighting or temperature, open or shut blinds, watch television or play music, and call nurses. “When it comes to patient comfort, we’re way past just temperature control,” the reporter quoted Tim as saying. Examples include tunable LEDs that make it possible to provide lighting to match human circadian rhythm and also meet the needs of both patients and staff.
The article illustrates the challenges – but also the opportunities – stemming from technological advances. “There’s a lot of talk about engineering being in partnership with the client,” says Tim. “If we aren’t alerting clients to the possibilities and advising them on which paths to take, then we really are just another engineer.”