By Charles A. Michelson, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP

“Reduce, reuse, and renovate” can be valuable principles to apply in medical construction projects. By incorporating these concepts, you can enhance sustainability, minimize waste, and optimize the use of resources.

However, long before the planning and construction process begins, adapting to changing demographics, identification of patient needs, and incorporating the relevant technologies and treatment approaches must be defined so that we may design efficient and cost-effective medical buildings.

Changing demographics have a significant impact on healthcare design and construction trends, requiring healthcare providers to adapt their services to meet the evolving needs of diverse populations. Here are some key considerations that impact design:

Aging Population: The aging population is increasing globally, leading to a higher demand for geriatric care, long-term care, and specialized services for age-related conditions such as dementia and chronic diseases. Facilities need to respond to enhance their capacity to provide geriatric care and provide programs that promote healthy aging, preventative care, and supportive services for older adults.

Technology Adoption: Changing healthcare design trends often coincide with technological advancements. Healthcare organizations should embrace technology and digital solutions to improve healthcare delivery, remote monitoring, telemedicine, and patient engagement. This can help overcome barriers such as distance, transportation issues, and limited access to specialized care. Technology changes the dynamic of the design of our medical facilities.

Chronic Disease Management: With shifting demographics, the prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity increases. Healthcare providers should prioritize preventative care, health promotion, and chronic disease management programs to address the unique needs and the design of spaces established for preventative care.

Mental Health and Well-Being: Current trends are identifying increased mental health needs, including increased demand for mental health services, addressing the cultural stigma around mental health, and providing specialized care for vulnerable populations. Healthcare organizations should prioritize mental health services and integrate mental health into primary care settings and/or their own specialized facilities.

By understanding the needs of our community, we can evaluate saving construction dollars for medical facilities by considering adaptive Reuse. Consider renovating existing buildings or repurposing spaces instead of constructing new ones. This means that, instead of demolishing an entire facility and rebuilding, focus on targeted renovations to improve energy efficiency, enhance patient comfort, and meet updated regulatory requirements.

It’s important to note that while cost optimization is essential, it should not jeopardize patient safety, regulatory compliance, or the long-term functionality of the healthcare facility. Engaging experienced professionals who understand the unique requirements of healthcare construction can help strike the right balance between cost savings and quality.

Charles Michelson is President of Saltz Michelson Architects. For more information, visit