The healthcare design industry is on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak, responding to myriad needs tied to the built environment to ensure patients can be tested and treated effectively.

Healthcare Design turned to its esteemed Editorial Advisory Board members and other leaders for an inside look at how they’re responding to the crisis. In this ongoing web series, we’ll share what we hear, as we hear it—the challenges you’re all up against and the solutions being put into place.

In these “Notes from the Field,” you’ll find an industry diving in to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly disseminating ideas to help others manage similar scenarios.

Hank Adams, Global Director of Health, HDR (Dallas)

At HDR, we’re currently fielding emergency requests from both public and private healthcare providers for assistance in helping them ramp up their abilities to care for patients suffering from COVID-19. Inquiries range from the construction of emergency field hospitals to building mobile modular patient beds and isolation rooms to establishing temporary emergency tented patient care settings.

We have activated a task force to work with clients to assess the most appropriate solutions for each client, knowing that controlling the spread of an infectious disease through the design of a clinical setting begins with clear layers of separation—from public, semi-public, through to private spaces. It is also important that there be enough space and multiple rooms to house the “extras” such as a point-of-care lab, extra donning and doffing areas, dedicated autoclaves for waste, and that air flow should be designed to eliminate airborne spread.

The arrangement of these spaces, and the materials and finishes used to construct them, must facilitate decontamination and hold up to cleaning chemicals. Identifying appropriate solutions necessarily involves the multidisciplinary expertise of architects, interior designers, clinical planners, equipment planners, and engineers.

If you have insight you’d like to share in this format, email Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Kovacs Silvis at