For designers, costs, economies, and expertise are playing a larger role in the healthcare industry. In a competitive market, healthcare leaders are more and more selective about hiring design professionals.

Healthcare designers can help clients make the right decision regarding their new or remodeled facility. Here are some questions designers should be prepared to answer when interviewing with healthcare operations and facility managers.

Do you track emerging trends and technology?

Healthcare technology and delivery methods are constantly evolving, from wireless mobile communication to in-room diagnostic testing. Because designers work with a diverse client base, attend conferences and professional development programs, and conduct research—we are in a unique position to advise and educate our clients about design choices that can have a positive impact on their facility. Likewise, clients bring a unique knowledge base to each project, and we have the opportunity to share ideas and information that ultimately will result in better designed facilities for patients.

How do you incorporate the community and area needs into your design?

Healthcare facilities are rooted to a community. It’s important for designers to understand the community they are working in as the facility extends beyond the confines of the building itself. For instance, HGA recently designed a new clinic and hospital in Owatonna, Minnesota, that offers a continuum of care and services from birth through all phases of life. Amenities include a fitness center, walking paths and high-quality cafeteria designed to welcome patients, families, staff and neighbors.

Do you practice Evidence-Based Design?

Evidence Based Design is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. As designers, we know that the quality of the physical environment itself impacts the healing process. Studies indicate that well-designed spaces with access to natural light and views, comforting furnishing and finishes, soothing colors, and pleasant distractions can promote the healing process by reducing stress and increasing safety. By conducting ongoing research that benchmarks optimal outcomes, designers build a knowledge base that is beneficial to each new client. At Butler Memorial Hospital Patient Tower expansion in Pennsylvania, HGA currently is conducting three post-occupancy studies that look at centralized vs. decentralized nurses’ stations; the influence of a new Knowledge Center on patients, staff, and the future of Butler Health System; and the impact of the patient-room pass through on nurses’ time.

How will patients benefit from your design expertise?

Designers bring diverse expertise to every project. The success of any project depends on aligning our experience to best meet the client’s goals. Of course, having worked on a similar project is always helpful to meeting your current client’s expectations. But the most successful projects arise from a true understanding of your client’s—and the community’s—goals to deliver a facility that will best serve the patient.

Do you have repeat clients?

A well-regarded reference can be a powerful endorsement of a designer’s work. A steady base of repeat clients is a good sign that a designer is doing something right—meeting goals and budget, listening to client needs, and delivering superior work that will benefit the patients, doctors, nurses and the surrounding community.

A successful healthcare facility is more than clinical procedures and advanced technology. Our work as healthcare designers is to create superior healing environments for patients.