Critical Care - Design Bureau


Pure Health Pharmacy

Danforth-3 copy

Danforth Neighborhood Pharmacy Care


Sick Kids Boomerang Clinic

Critical Care

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

By John F. Rizor
Photos by Victoria Cheng and C& Partners

With the advent of electronic medical records, web-based patient portals, and WebMD, technology has changed the face of health care. So, too, will design, believes architect Aaron Cheng of the Toronto-based C& Partners Architects. Cheng and his partners are ushering in a new era of health care design, one in which pharmacies are personalized and hospitals are anything but clinical.

JR: What's next for health care design? 
Aaron Cheng: To look to the future, we need to examine the past when health care was synonymous with institutional design. Architects focused on technical requirements that produced functional environments. Clients weren't presented with alternatives, and failed to see how aesthetics, lighting, and interior finishes could enhance patient care. Today, we work with our clients, many of whom are in the private sector, to produce holistic health care design. Care will become tailored for the individual, with multiple points of contact with medical professionals. Waiting for a prescription or appointment should not be a negative or stressful experience, but instead should be viewed as a journey towards better health.

JR: How can design engage patients?
AC: Architecturally, this means providing spaces that allow for private conversation and consultation. This also means understanding how different spaces are used, both by practitioners like pharmacists and doctors, and by patients. We applied this [approach] to Sick Kids Boomerang clinic, where we studied how patients (in this case the children) used the space and how practitioners used the space. To encourage collaboration and dialogue among practitioners, we created offices that can be connected via a common corridor, separated by doors. We also paid attention to how parents will use this space. Parents in the waiting area can use the docking station with computers.

JR: Can design help to engage patients outside of the doctor’s office?
AC: All of our projects explore holistic health care design in various scales and via various design methods. Pure Health Pharmacy explored this notion of personal care by providing individual consultation rooms for pharmacists and patients. We created an integrated compounding and dispensing pharmacy for greater control and personalization for drug dispensing. When we designed the Danforth Neighborhood Pharmacy Care store, we worked with our client to create a welcoming space with natural light, unique elements, and high-quality finishes that redefine the phrase ‘neighborhood pharmacy.’ Patients are now greeted with a dispensing counter that is at their level. The future of health care in Canada is one that focuses on the patient as an individual, and one that will continue to inspire confidence through design. 

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