Human-centred design and technology boosts healthcare delivery

by Tiffany Paczek
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An ageing population is placing increasing demands on healthcare services, with global healthcare delivery projected to increase at an annual rate of 4.1 percent, up from 1.3 percent in 2012 to 2016​.

Improved service provision and cost effectiveness, with better patient outcomes, are therefore fundamental for healthcare providers.

Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon, is focusing on how human-centred design and technology can change the landscape for healthcare delivery for patients.

Designing healthcare facilities for the future

Aurecon recently appointed Ben Coxon as client director, Health Australia, to lead a team of professionals who are working with healthcare providers to design and develop the healthcare facilities of the future.

Coxon was Aurecon’s project director responsible for all engineering for the bid phase with the Exemplar consortium for the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Prior to that, he undertook the role of structural director of the GCUH Engineering Joint Venture for Gold Coast University Hospital.

“According to OECD research, expenditure on healthcare is 70 percent more than on education, and, on average, nine percent of GDP,” Coxon says. “And hospitals account for 40 percent of this spending.

“By 2030, there will be eight billion people across the world, with one in eight over the age of 65. This is placing increasing demand on healthcare services, particularly for long-term care, while inputs into government schemes to fund such services are becoming more challenging.

“Healthcare providers are therefore needing to take a more innovative approach to healthcare delivery, to deliver more services with the same or less money in the future,” he says.

Human-centred design leveraged by technology for better patient outcomes

“We are working with our clients to piece all parts of the puzzle together with human-centred design the centrepiece, to explore how technology can be leveraged to optimise and enhance existing facilities, increase the flexibility and efficiency of new assets and future-proof the system for healthcare delivery. Ultimately, this will result in more efficient, better quality and lower cost patient outcomes,” Coxon says.

Aurecon is currently working with healthcare providers across Australia and globally to assess the current state of their assets and how they can be optimised for the future, as well as exploring options for future healthcare service provision. This has included facilitating the Shifting Health by Design Symposium on behalf of Health City Springfield Central, in partnership with Mater Misericordiae, Aveo and Springfield City Group, and hosting an innovation workshop with the International Academy for Design and Health.

Aurecon has worked on high profile health projects across every state of Australia, including the award-winning Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Queensland.

In South Australia, Aurecon worked with SA Health, providing program direction and management services during the delivery and activation phases of the futuristic, 800-bed, AUD 2.4 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

In Western Australia, the company also recently completed the Perth Children’s Hospital, using digital technology to create a future-focused, flexible healthcare facility for the people of Western Australia.

“Health is a sector that is easy to feel passionate about; we all have family and friends who use hospital and healthcare services, so delivering world-class facilities is something we are very committed to,” Coxon says.

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Image: Sunshine Coast University Hospital, courtesy of Lendlease.

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