With all the prognosticating going on of late about the future of healthcare and therefore of healthcare design (my own predictions included, of course), perhaps we should all look back in the archives for other ideas whose time has come around again. After all, hindsight is 20-20.

For example, several years back, the long-term care community and the acute care community grew apart, driven by the need to establish specialized care for seniors away from the institutional environment (among other issues too numerous and complicated to go into here). Meanwhile, acute care also moved toward a non-instutional look and feel, but one inspired by the hospitality industry, as well as the idea of the evidence-based healing environment.

Now, as the Baby Boomers continue to live longer, healthier lives and the healthcare consumer wants to age in place — to say nothing of the changing face of the U.S. healthcare system in general — long-term and acute care have slowly started to grow closer together, and look to grow closer still moving forward. So what can the two systems learn from their collective past?

I suspect more than learning how to move forward in an uncertain future, the real key will be to avoid the pitfalls of the past. Then again, the Baby Boomers themselves are rather demanding of better, faster, cheaper healthcare – they likely won’t let any such pitfalls come about regardless.

Are there other issues and/or design tactics that you see coming back into focus? Send me an email or post below with your thoughts.