In this series, Healthcare Design asks leading healthcare design professionals, firms, and owners to tell us what’s got their attention and share some ideas on the subject.

Joe Jouvenal is a senior vice president and business unit leader for McCarthy Building Cos. (Dallas). Here, he shares his thoughts on the builder’s impact on patient satisfaction scores, how technology is impacting the construction industry, and the uptick of drones on project sites.

1. Tech-enhanced walk-throughs

We’re in a golden age of technology in construction. The industry has developed technological solutions that drive practical value for our teams and clients. The most significant of these advancements is in virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR). For example, VR can allow clients to virtually “walk” through their buildings from the safe confines of a conference room, months ahead of the start of construction, while AR enables them to “see” their completed lobby via their phone while standing on the slab of a partially finished structure. Helping our clients envision their investment and getting input before we start construction better enables us to provide a finished product we know they’ll like and will meet their needs.

2. Making room for drones

The use of drones in construction has been around for several years, mostly for visual documentation of progress or to get a bird’s eye view of a project. Now, we’re seeing drones used for inspections of areas where it would be unsafe or impossible to personally access. Some are being equipped with infrared cameras to scan building envelopes to help diagnose problems or provide insight related to quality control. As more drones are put to use every day, they’re helping keep job sites safe and raise the bar on quality.

3. National collaboration

As projects are becoming more complicated, bringing the best minds and ideas together to find solutions can be the difference between success and failure. Subject matter experts aren’t always accessible at the exact location where a project is being designed or built, but thanks to new technologies such as webcam and digital dashboards, we’re sharing screens, working in virtual design studios, and seeing life in real-time from anywhere in the world. This allows us to utilize our resources, no matter where they are and provide feedback, information, or instruction without delay or confusion, which is a value-add for our clients. This efficiency and speed, coupled with the highest level of expertise, is a game changer.

4. Building a better project team

Project partners have typically been selected based on who could stack up the most impressive resume or who was willing to write down the lowest fee. While experience and price still matter, we’re seeing design and construction buyers digging much deeper into the teams they’re considering for their project to ensure individual personalities and tendencies mesh and resonate with their own team. I call this “behavior-based selection,” and, essentially, clients are utilizing job-site simulations or role playing to see how firms operate in real-life scenarios, as opposed to relying on rehearsed, sterile presentations to make their decision. At the end of the day, our clients are paying for the delivery of a project that meets their expectations, but they want it done in an environment that’s fun and collaborative—and getting the right personalities in the room is critical.

5. Understanding the builder’s impact on HCAHPS scores

At least two of the 11 rating criteria of the HCAHPS score are impacted by construction: Cleanliness of the Hospital Environment and Quietness of the Hospital Environment. Understanding the importance of these scores and the impact that we as builders and designers have on them is crucial and including construction teams in early planning discussions helps bring creative solutions to a project that can help mitigate negative impacts to the HCAHPS score. We’ve found that this is a team effort and by continuing to push the team to find even incremental plan improvements yields amazing results.