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‘The relationship between environment and impact is gaining more importance in the design of healthcare facilities’

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Godrej Interio, a well-known furniture brand in-home and institutional segments, recently launched the ‘Godrej Interio Healthcare Experience Centre’ to showcase its products and services. After the launch, Sameer Joshi, Associate VP Marketing, Godrej Interio shares more information about the changing demands in healthcare, the current trends in hospital design, the vital role of healing environments in improving patient outcomes, Godrej Interio’s growing focus on healthcare, objectives of the newly launched Healthcare Experience Centre and more, in an exclusive interview with Lakshmipriya Nair

How is the layout of spaces and building form and design of healthcare setups changing? What are the drivers of this transformation?
Healthcare environments are changing with shifting trends in the practice of medicine. Twenty-first century practices have been described as being personalised, predictive, preventive and participatory in their approach, steering hospitals and clinics away from the sterile, clinical facilities they used to be. No longer designed only for safety and space efficiency, today’s clinics are warm and welcoming in ambience. Healthcare facilities are designed to create a comfortable and welcoming environment. Lifestyle and hospitality elements are also incorporated to provide a unique experience for patients in today’s scenario.

‘Form follows function’ is an old philosophy in architecture. Is it still trending? If yes, how is it being interpreted and applied in modern hospital designs? If not, what are the new guiding principles, and why?
Godrej Interiors Research in Healthcare Spaces continues to indicate that there is a strong correlation between the look and feel of an environment and its tangible, quantifiable impact on the people who inhabit it. The relationship between environment and impact is gaining more and more importance in the design of healthcare facilities, where the creation of a healing environment, a place that truly and demonstrably helps cures the ill, is the holy purpose for facility managers and healthcare designers. An approach known as evidence-based design has emerged as a driver of healthcare design and is one of the key emerging trends that advance the correlation between a healing environment and positive clinical outcomes. A few design elements like colour palette, access to natural light, wayfinding is at the core of the discussion about current trends, but it’s also important to be aware of some non-traditional elements that are starting to add new dimension to current thinking. At its root, evidence-based design drives an environment that is therapeutic, supportive of family involvement, efficient for staff performance, and restorative for workers under stress. It has become the new currency of design around the globe, yielding data on the degree to which specific elements and approaches, from natural light and views of the outdoors to colors, signage, public art and other aesthetics, encourage positive outcomes.

How is Godrej Interio working towards creating hospital interiors which can provide measurable benefits for both, patients and caregivers? You have recently inaugurated the Godrej Interio Healthcare Experience Centre. What objectives will the Centre help you achieve?
Nurses and caregivers are the single largest health professional group and they practice in nearly every setting of the healthcare system, including hospitals, long-term care, home health, ambulatory care, diagnostic and treatment facilities, and clinics. In adjusting with a change system and responsibilities, challenges faced by them needs to be addressed on a priority basis. An efficient workforce will make the healthcare delivery smooth and the receiving end will feel safer and more secured. Our study found that the healthcare system is undergoing rapid changes that put new emphasis on population health, quality of care, and the value of the services delivered. These changes present both opportunities and challenges to the healthcare workforce. Godrej Interio creates an efficient work environment that provides flexibility for ease of work, benefits productivity, increases staff comfort and a positive experience for all stakeholders in healthcare space, namely patients and their relatives, doctors, nursing staff and hospital administrators. Additionally, Godrej Interio healthcare business focusses on creating environments that support patients and families in process of healing. These ergonomically designed healing environments focus on efficiency, empathy and well-being of all stakeholders including patients, caregivers and doctors. The new healthcare experience centre highlights our design philosophy which is based on adopting a human-centric approach and using adaptive space solutions for improved patient-doctor interaction.

What are the important aspects that get overlooked while designing healthcare facilities in India? How can you handhold healthcare providers to balance cost while enabling modularity and flexibility in their facilities?
One needs to keep in mind that the life cycle project costs over the years dwarf the original construction costs while designing and building health and hospital facilities. As observed in some cases, expensive health and hospital facilities have been built and a country has not budgeted for the operating costs, or coordinated and planned the allied health professionals or the proper staffing requirements. There are cases on other extremes where minimising initial cost of investment is primary focus and choices made turnout very expensive when lifecycle cost is considered. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well as private players. It is, however, lacking in healing environments which focus on providing utmost comfort and safety to patients while handling the cost challenge. We, at Godrej Interio, are working on multiple innovations keeping in mind unique challenges faced by industry. For example, shortly we are launching world’s first bed which can be converted from manual to motorised at hospital premises. This should help hospitals to upgrade same bed at later date. It is a matter of pride to see Godrej Interio endeavouring to uplift the quality of experience at healthcare facilities through multiple innovations.

How urgent is the need for newer approaches and enhanced deployable models to create more healing environments?
Godrej Interio recently unveiled a research study ‘Elevating Experiences, Enriching Lives’ that discusses prevalent challenges faced by the nursing forces while delivering healthcare services in India. According to the initial observations the stress added to the life of a nurse may be contributed by the long working hours, overload and overtime they do to meet the demands of the changing and challenging healthcare industry in this new revolutionary Indian healthcare sector. Work alternated by rest is the ideal working scenario in any industry, but according to our observed fact nurses doesn’t take adequate rest breaks in between working hours resulting in the overload to the body structures and this in return add on to the mental stress. According to the number of standing hours nurses spend while at work there could be a direct correlation between the prevalent leg and knee pain which is evident in our initial observations. The awkward postures and the improper handling techniques used while at work is in sync with the facts that upper back and lower back pain is prevalent in the working forces. Sustained awkward postures used while assisting some procedures may lead to the shoulder pain. Absenteeism due to stress and pain leads to the productivity loss to the organisation and decreases self-confidence of the nurse. To meet these challenges, well-motivated and well-prepared workforce is required. We can achieve this by meeting the requirement of nurses and taking care of their challenges which can lead to empowered, encouraged and affirmed nurses who can continue to excel to do best without any barriers.

Tell us about the current projects that Godrej Interio is involved in the healthcare space? What are the services you offer that are unique from your contemporaries?
Godrej Interio’s approach is to create spaces which are fair to all stakeholders in healthcare environment. We believe that the spaces need to be designed to take care of needs and expectations of multiple stakeholders including doctors, care givers, hospital administration in addition to patients and their families. For e.g. Godrej Interio has been offering wellness services to nursing staff which includes posture training, patient transfer techniques and self exercises to handle daily stress while at work. We have been working with multiple clients including medical colleges, large private hospitals, government super-specialty hospitals. Godrej Interio offers furniture solutions for all areas of hospitals including reception, lounges, offices, canteen, record rooms, laboratory and medical furniture. We have also been executing turnkey interiors for healthcare environments for some-time now which includes complete execution including HVAC, electrical, gas piping, pneumatic systems and civil interiors. We have tied up with specialty space designers for handling complex projects. With unique software-based CCPM approach to project management, we have been successfully delivering multiple projects on time.


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