3 Interior Design Elements to Transform Your Practice for the New World

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it.” – Jim Moran

We had a blast!

A big thank you to the American Med Spa Association (@amspa_americanmedspa) for having me last week in their Medical Spa Insider webinars and especially for the people who took the time to listen to what I had to say and for the amazing questions after. If you missed the webinar, this is a summary of what I presented – some ideas to think about and how our experience helped practices create high-performing, WORLD-CLASS, and future-proof places of healing. If you still have not please do consider following us on Instagram (@simourdesign) to get the latest from us, for medical interior inspiration, and resources to transform your spaces to its fullest potential.

How to choose to be inspired vs. fearful? How do we overcome challenges? How do we rise above? In this period of great and unexpected changes, we look to the opportunities that Medical Interior Design can be an elevating element and be more healing than ever before. The answer to the questions above is to TRANSFORM, it’s where adaptation and change come together to make intentional breakthroughs in the industry. Today we bring you three elements and the strategies to transform your Medical Spaces to respond to current challenges, highlight what is essential, and embrace the future enthusiastically.

Current Trends, what can we expect in the New Normal?

  • Plexiglass barriers
  • HEPA Filtration
  • UV Air Cleaner
  • Temp scanner, Oxygen level testers
  • PPE – Masks covering mouth and nose
  • Social distancing office floor
  • Waiting in car and text when ready

We are in a new world and WE MUST TRANSFORM to respond to our new reality. To design by inspiration means to stand from the point of view of hope rather than fear. The current trends are all valid responses to the pandemic, but we propose a more holistic approach that integrates these new realities into your brand. Getting the messaging across that you are ready for the New World is a sure way to set yourself apart from the competition. The three elements we listed down are structured to make it simpler and easier to digest. Let us begin!

  1. Patient Experience

    1. Give, Not TakePart of a positive patient experience is to approach it from a spirit of abundance instead of restriction. Instead of having a fully enclosed reception area to greet your patients, why not introduce an iPad welcome menu for the reception area? You can encase it so it will be easier to disinfect and will be better use of technology to efficiently manage the flow of patients within the facility.
    2. Guide, Not TakeA clear wayfinding system is big for any Medical Space. Be it room labels or directional signage, your patients would appreciate being given these visual elements to guide them where they need to be. No one likes to get lost and wayfinding, even subtle ones like these metal inserts in the floor as shown below helps one instinctively navigate where they ought to be.

    3. Transform, Not ChangeMedical visits always stir up a lot of anxiety as it is and the pandemic is increasing the mental pain associated with them. Try to design your spaces that will alleviate those anxieties. Induce some calm and relaxation especially in those places where your patient can feel most vulnerable. Restrooms often go overlooked despite being a key focal point which you can read here. Give the restrooms some extra love, try to make them more special, where patients can be most relaxed and safe. Mind the lighting, the finishes, even the smells. Trust us that your patients will appreciate it.

      At this point of the presentation we showed this 3d model of the sample project we were working on (which you can click here) showing the space as approved by the client. Everything shown here, from the finishes, furniture and lighting is as what was planned for and is immensely helpful in visualizing what the interiors will come to look like even before we start construction. For clarity and peace of mind, have your interior designers come up with something like this to get a feel of what a space will look like.

  2. Safety

    1. Reconfigure, Not DistanceSocial distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future and our spaces should reflect this new reality. Reconfiguring your spaces, especially the places where patients congregate like the waiting areas demand not fewer but more clusters for seating. It answers the need for distancing, and it puts your patient’s mind at ease. Pro tip: choose round center tables, they have no edges and direct the flow better.
    2. Get Creative, Not ComplicatedGetting creative means looking at systems that can work double time in the background to achieve your goals. Disinfection is key to maintaining safety for everybody and there are available tech in the market today like CleanUV by Waveform Lighting that can stand up to the challenge. Ultraviolet lighting irradiation is particularly promising that can be applied to a lot of our tools and even entire spaces. Focus should be given to doorways and thresholds where pathogens from once space can creep into another.For tenants, this would be a good time to sit down with your Building Manager to improve systems that control your utilities like water and air filtration.
    3. Functionality is the New LuxuryLuxury and elegance must now be functional as well, they cannot remain purely aesthetic decisions especially now that there are more overarching priorities that must be addressed. The market is filled with material choice that doesn’t compromise design intent with cleanability or maintenance. Quartz countertops are non-staining alternatives to natural stone that stand up to robust cleaning and are easy to repair when damaged. Cleanable paint finishes and wallpaper are easy wall finishes that can hold up against disinfection.Copper is having its moment right now because of its inherent anti-bacterial qualities and fittings that are made of copper or materials that are impregnated with copper are welcome features that can make your spaces healthier and safer.
  3. Comfort

    1. Indoor Air Quality MattersIt’s not just the air, it’s everything inside the indoors that matters.

      Looking for Zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) certifications on all interior construction materials be it wood, paint, furniture ensures that harmful toxins are kept off in the building of your Medical spaces.

      Do not forget the healing and visual delight that plants can also give to your interiors. Some of them like the Fiddle-leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata), Snake plants (Sansevieria), and Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum) can purify their indoor air. Add these touches of nature indoors and you have elements that work double–time cleaning the air and beautifying the space at the same time.

      Comfort in the air also considers the temperature, so try setting all public spaces at a comfortable level not too hot nor too cold. As a final flourish, also consider using scents that can reinforce the fresh and clean ambience inside. Stay away from the overly strong or floral, and do not forget them in the restrooms as well. Read more about improving indoor air here.

    2. Keep it CalmYour Medical Spaces should always be a refuge of calm and healing, anything that distracts or disrupts should always be unwelcome. Think acoustics and noise abatement. Ensure that walls are properly insulated for noise and temperature. Doors should be equipped with those door closers that hush the sound of it closing and prevents it from banging shut.

      In general, you should ask yourself: How does your interior make me feel? Empathize with your patients and try to understand their mindsets. You will get better insights through this and be guided about designing your interiors intentionally. Medical Interior Design is separated from the rest by understanding the patient psychology which you can read more here.

    3. Lighting Controls Human BehaviorWe cannot underscore the importance of Lighting to your Interiors, and especially the Medical Spaces where lighting can sometimes control behavior and outlook. Our recommendation is to always be mindful of the technicalities of lighting like color temperature or fixture design because your choices do matter to achieve the desired effect. LED’s are so pervasive and are the energy-efficient option bar-none. Our recommendation for color temperature is the one that is equivalent to natural lighting at 1-2 pm which is equivalent to 3,500 Kelvins. As for fixtures, always design with intent and purpose. Mind what surface you mount them and see if there are opportunities to automate them for energy conservation.

“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Remember that your Medical Interior Design is an extension of your branding and should reflect your best qualities and the values you stand for. Not just the physical brick and mortar, the interiors should fuse with the service that you offer. Tying all these threads, both the tangible and intangible should make for a Medical space that you can be proud of and one that patients would be top of mind for any medical treatment.

To end this, I would like to invite you all to embrace the new normal with optimism, positivity, and enthusiasm. DO NOT BE AFRAID. The new world we are entering is filled with opportunities to take charge of our own circumstances and chart new trajectories. Transforming your Medical spaces to be positive, safe, and comfortable will make sure you weather this period of uncertainty and even come out bigger and better than ever. Call us how we can be part of your journey and we wish you great success!

*For a copy of this presentation and to receive the bonus link, please email us at [email protected].

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Our primary motivation is to heal the world through our designs. We know environments have an immense impact on our well-being. Our goal is to share knowledge and understanding of how interior design impacts how we feel.

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