It’s a given that the world will not standstill. As the saying goes, “time waits for no one”. Technology developments in almost all areas of life are progressing with what may seem like alarming alacrity but what may be, in fact, the normal pace of things.  Healthcare design and innovation is no exception.

An interesting blog written by Dr. Irving Wladawsky-Berger, former IBM executive for the Wall Street Journal, CIO Report, titled “As Technology Becomes more Complex, Design Becomes More Important” discusses the need for a more flexible and creative way of thinking amongst CEOs in relation to how they lead and understand the coming generation that is keeping step with the progression of technology.

According to a 2010 IBM Global CEO Study cited by Wladawsky-Berger, “CEOs now realize that creativity trumps other leadership characteristics. Creative leaders are comfortable with ambiguity and experimentation. To connect with and inspire a new generation, they lead and interact in entirely new ways.” There is no turning back to “the old ways”.

However, what stood out the most to me from this blog was Wladawsky-Berger’s basic idea that at the end of the day the human element is still the most important. “While advances in technology are now enabling us to bring major innovations to services, most of the really hard issues are not technical at all. They are human.  A well-designed, well-engineered, and well-managed service system must be primarily centered and optimized around people, whether we are talking about a patient in a healthcare system, a customer of a business, or a citizen dealing with the government.”

Whether it is within the plans of a new healthcare facility or the medical equipment being installed in a hospital, the central theme continues to be what is best for the patient. Systems that fail to recognize this fundamental aspect can expect to hear about it. Taking the time to think creatively, focus on the people who will use the healthcare building, and offer access to the latest technological advancements serves to only enhance care for patients.

As Wladawsky-Berger states, “Advances in technology–faster, more powerful, less expensive–are concrete and visible.  Design is subtle, more subjective, and more open to human interpretation.  But, as our increasingly advanced technologies enable us to build larger, more capable, more complex systems, the role of design becomes ever more important.” Developing the creativity and shedding the fear of exploration will serve to open more avenues and keep the stride of advancement going.