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Healthcare Design Impact on Patient Health and Safety in Middle East Hospitals

One of the key topics at the inaugural in was defining the international benchmark for healthcare design and to see how design flaws can impact on patient health and safety in hospitals across the Middle East. According to international safe health design professionals from the Joint Commission International () in the US, the focus for the region needs to be on the unique as well as the common needs of the populations served.

Dr. Kathy Reno, who is a Safe Health Design consultant at JCI in Chicago, was speaking during the recent Hospital Build Architect’s Congress about how to avoid the issues that place patient health and safety at risk.  This topic was discussed as part of a wider conference program taking place during the 4th Hospital Build & Infrastructure Middle East Exhibition & Congress which concludes today (6 June 2012) at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

JCI Accreditation primarily focuses on the processes of providing safe patient care,” says Dr. Reno. “The built environment is critical in meeting that goal by providing a safe and secure physical environment as well as one that supports effective care processes.  Checklists may be utilized to ensure consistent review of those elements that are more standardized, usually due to local codes such as fire safety codes or utility system maintenance.  Other activities of the accreditation process such as tracing a patient’s care through a system are less prescribed.  Processes such as these are not easily adapted to a checklist format that design professionals can use to design healthcare facilities.  This becomes the “art” of good design for safe patient flow.”

The Hospital Build Architects’ Congress addresses the key challenges faced by architecture professionals in the Middle East, focusing on the development of healthcare construction facilities. Even through the slowdown of new building projects in the region, hundreds of healthcare facilities have been planned, and continue to be developed.

According to the  2009 World Healthcare Organization (WHO) guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare, Healthcare Associated Infection () is  a major problem for patient safety and its surveillance, and prevention must be a first priority for settings and institutions committed to making healthcare safer.

The most common issue the JCI has found in review of hospital designs is providing a built environment that can assist in reducing HCAIs. Dr. Reno highlights that this includes hand hygiene considerations on sinks and hand gel placement, adequate number and placement of janitor (housekeeping) closets for cleaning, and appropriate spaces for storing clean materials and processing soiled materials and equipment.

“Design and architecture professionals worldwide are partnering with clinicians and communities to study as well as identify built environment solutions that can improve the provision of healthcare and maintain wellness.  Programs such as the Hospital Build Architect’s Congress bring together professionals to share knowledge, ideas and innovations critical to improving healthcare around the globe.  Regional sessions, such as this one based in Dubai, allow the program to focus on the unique as well as the common needs of the populations served,” adds Dr. Reno.

Hospital Build & Infrastructure Middle East is where top-level decision makers from the Middle East’s healthcare construction and management industry can network with 130 key exhibitors in the field including the likes of GE Healthcare, Hestia, Karl Storz, Alvo Medical, Draeger, Trane, Siemens and Philips Healthcare.

According to Frederic Camboulives, General Manager, Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Central Asia & Russia for GE Healthcare’s Hospital & Healthcare Solutions (HHS) business: “Hospital Build & Infrastructure is a key congress for us. The Middle East is witnessing significant investments in building its healthcare infrastructure to meet the growing demand for advanced medical care. With lifestyle diseases on the rise and healthcare bills increasing, the creation of modern, resource-efficient hospitals and healthcare centers is critical. HHS brings strong domain knowledge and expertise of the hospital infrastructure requirements of the region combined with its local presence of a strong team of professionals. For new or renovated healthcare facilities, HHS offers turnkey solutions with appropriate partners to meet their requirements.”

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