Among the first series of sessions held this morning at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.10 was “Cancer Care Design Innovations that Really Work (And a Few that Didn’t!)” with George Mejias, AIA, director of design and construction at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (SKCC) in New York, and Andrew Jarvis, AIA, LEED AP, principal, director of healthcare architecture, at Ewing Cole.

The two discussed the design tactics they’ve used that worked, and like the name of the session suggests, a few that didn’t exactly go as planned, in the quest to successfully treat cancer patients in a humane way.

Within the MSKCC system is created a regional care network, where patients are treated where they live. However, Mejias pointed out that oftentimes the inherent belief of patients is that the main campus is superior to branch locations. One tactic used to dissuade that belief is design—oftentimes the aesthetics of the built environment where patients are being treated impacts the level of treatment they view they are receiving.

However, the two also discussed the inherent challenges that exist when designing a cancer care facility, including the need for patient privacy, views of nature, few footsteps, reflection space for staff members, and an environment that promotes positive outcomes rather than exposing patients to intimidating treatments that may be to come, among many others.

Some of the ways to invent new best practices in cancer center design spaces proposed during the session include:

· Interview patients/caregivers;

· Set design goals;

· Program, plan, design;

· Mock-up key spaces;

· Evaluate, redesign;

· Document, construct;

· Interview caregivers/patients; and

· Integrate lessons learned.