HomeMember NewsAssociate Member SpotlightSDAHO Associate Member Spotlight: CMBA Architects and Rural Healthcare

SDAHO Associate Member Spotlight: CMBA Architects and Rural Healthcare

CMBA Architects believes that giving people the freedom, flexibility, and space to create and innovate is invaluable as an architecture firm. When it comes to healthcare designs, CMBA Architects designs each project where everyone’s philosophies align and all work together for the greater good. This approach has created projects that resulted in community solidarity and civic engagement that everyone is proud of.

Located in Spencer, Iowa, Spencer Hospital is a municipal hospital, with a commitment to quality care ‘close to home’. Their motto of ‘Healthier Together’ is exemplified by their network of community partnerships. The design and implementation of the new emergency department addition required a team effort from facility staff, as well as city officials to close a portion of a city street for the building to occupy. “This project became a great example of how collaboration for a greater cause can truly the enhance the well-being of the community.” Angela McCaulley, Healthcare Architect

CMBA Architects works closely with clients helping them be resourceful when working with a limited budget. Loring Hospital in Sac City, Iowa was able to successfully expand and remodel the clinic, but not before working with CMBA Architects to explore a variety of funding options, which allowed for more resourceful design decisions. The project was accomplished by utilizing non-traditional funding methods, including local donations through their Foundation. The majority of the funding was secured through a USDA Rural Development Loan. “Securing the funding was a lengthy process, but the diligence and effective use of resources have made this project a reality for the community.” Terry Glade, Principal Architect

CMBA Architects works alongside healthcare systems to create new or expand existing facilities that deliver quality healthcare regardless of the budget. Helping clients be more adaptable with a design is key, as it allows for more flexible spaces that can be utilized for multiple functions that can adapt to changes in the industry. Where appropriate, the use of telehealth services can be easily incorporated into a facility, which can be helpful in rural populations when limited access to transportation may exist. Helping clients with standardization options in a variety of spaces can reduce costs. This may include selecting the same carpet or acoustic ceiling that may be in stock and readily available, will help when budgets are limited.

The team from CMBA will review a facilities’ goals and provide consultation regarding the viability of the project. While a location may be remote, the ability to meet virtually has increased our Team’s ability to assist with projects that may have previously seemed far from our physical offices.

When working in a remote location, strong consideration must be given to building trades and materials that are appropriate for the area. Considering budget through all phases of a project can assist in managing limited resources.

CMBA approaches each project with an ‘Upward Thinking’ philosophy.  Regardless of the community size or location, this is the roadmap with which CMBA follows to accomplish the project objectives. “While a community population may be small or their geographic footprint limited, the boundaries of a healthcare center are far-reaching. Often, a project in a rural location has a regional impact and is crucial to the vitality of an area.” Brian Crichton, CEO | Principal Architect

There are a few key factors to consider when looking to the future of healthcare facilities and emerging trends:

  • Integration of new Technology and ‘Futureproofing’
    • Healthcare facilities will (likely) continue to rely on new technologies for patient care and diagnosis. With the assistance of Architects, facilities will need to be flexible and adjust accommodate resources, such as telemedicine, robotic assistance, AI-assisted diagnostics, and remote monitoring systems.
  • Increased Flexibility and Adaptation:
    • Facilities will need to create opportunities for flexible spaces, in response to changes in medical practices, as well as shifts in patient demographics. Facilities, especially in rural areas, will need to respond to an aging population with considerations to adding more profitable services or in-demand service lines to meet patient expectations.
  • Patient-Centered Design:
    • Design considerations, such as access to natural light, elements of nature, thoughtful signage/ wayfinding systems, and comfortable waiting areas enhance the overall patient experience.
  • Sustainability and Reduced Energy Consumption
    • Reducing energy consumption will become critical for facilities due to changes in regulation and decarbonization. In addition to energy-efficient systems, renewable energy sources, and use of materials with low environmental impact should be taken into account.
  • Infection Control
    • Facilities must prioritize design decisions that prevent the spread of infectious disease. These strategies may include incorporating proper ventilation, installation of easy-to-disinfect surfaces, and facilitating spatial layouts that minimize the spread of pathogens.
  • Accessibility and Equity/ Inclusion:
    • In addition to universal design principles, equitable access to services should be considered, such as multi-lingual signage and availability of translation services that cater to diverse patient population.
  • Community Integration:
    • Healthcare facilities should integrate themselves into the surrounding community, serving not only as places for patient care, but also as centers of health promotion, education and social support. Spaces for collaboration between providers and local organizations can be provided to improve communication with community partners.

By considering these key factors, healthcare facilities can remain functional and efficient, while adapting to the evolving needs of patients, providers, and society.

To learn more about CMBA Architects, visit them today at cmbaarchitects.com

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