Transformation of Healthcare Interior Design into Retail Design: Causes and Effects

Interior Designers play a key role in creating innovative healthcare spaces, while rendering to clients’ requirements and patient needs. As a Healthcare Interior Designer puts it, “Healthcare Interior Design is not limited to putting buildings on a campus; it’s about thinking of a bigger picture, a better vision, and providing leadership.”

Considering the rising prevalence of adverse environmental conditions and lifestyle-related diseases, there is a great need for equipping healthcare facilities with resilient and rapidly deliverable essential public health services. Hospitals are transforming from regular conventional campuses into upgraded facilities within the reach of patient communities.

According to the HFM magazine, a majority of the hospitals are shifting towards the retail strategy of housing out-patient services in a variety of facilities from large free-standing medical office buildings (MOBs) on medical campuses to small express clinics, with a focus on the retail amenities and branding. As a result, out-patient services are being offered at small retail centers, which are part of large healthcare malls.

The ‘retail strategy’ includes creating small family and retail-based express clinics, medical malls and wellness centers, in association with a large healthcare facility. Such retail-based express clinics and community-based clinics are usually located in proximity to general population and are focused on providing quick-response, emergency clinical care towards minor illnesses and injuries, as well as preventive measures like sports physicals and immunizations. These clinics aim to provide access and convenience while extended typical work hours and providing care with the help of trained general practitioners.

Case Studies

  • Walmart, Walgreens and MinuteClinic that belong to CVS are some of the early express clinics. These companies, including some other pharmacy retail outlets, provide services such as flu shots, screening cholesterol levels, and other services typically performed by primary care personnel.
  • In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the local hospital network has built emergency medical care centers in the forecourt area of Sheetz gas stations, which is quite a retail operation.
  • Chicago-based Anthony Hospital has planned to build a new hospital and mixed-use campus for the benefit of neighboring economically-challenged community. The new hospital aims to offer wellness programs including soccer fields, healthy food options and public transportation.
  • Considering the importance of design drivers for an integrated community development, Florida Hospital has implemented retail design components such as a pedestrian-friendly environment, parks and recreational spaces, and plenty of healthy eating options.

According to New York-based Perkins+Will, associating healthcare interior design with the overall health of the population has been percolating over the last two decades. However, there is a great need to expand the accessibility of preventive care through ambulatory sites, while re-using and re-inventing existing healthcare spaces. The retail design approach is about creating healthcare interiors while ensuring healthy and lively environment within the surrounding communities. Meanwhile, this design approach evaluates existing neighborhoods to determine the areas of improvement instead of creating new healthcare communities from initial stages. Moreover, this concept has been successful in contributing to the promotion of wellness-focused lifestyles in the neighborhoods.

Moreover, healthcare architectural design has undergone some major improvements like establishing on-site renewable energy systems and water storage and treatment capability over the last few years, with an aim to prevent infrastructure-related crises. In this regard, designers are also recognizing the need for rapid design and construction mechanisms that are completed within the shortest time span with a low level of risk and expenditure.

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