By Daniel Casciato
IKM Incorporated architects, the Pittsburgh-based architecture, planning and interior design firm, recently joined a research membership program of The Advisory Board Company, a Washington, D.C. based research, technology and consulting organization primarily utilized by healthcare organizations to identify trends, provide market analyses, and augment resources for strategy development. Ninety percent (90%) of the top 100 hospitals are members.
The Advisory Board Company was founded in 1979 and has grown into a global firm employing more than 2,200 people in nine offices on three continents. The Advisory Board is respected by the industry as a leader in developing tools that benefit the advancement of effective and efficient delivery of Healthcare services.
IKM will become a member of the Health Care Industry Committee’s research membership program for architecture firms, contributing their expertise to the already accomplished group of more than 60 architecture firms participating in the membership. Through the membership, IKM will be granted access to key tools to succeed in today’s complex health care environment.
“We will apply the revolutionary insights of the Advisory Board to our planning and architectural designs, helping IKM to pursue our goal of making our work some of the most comprehensive and innovative products on the market,” says John Schrott, AIA, ACHA, president of IKM.
IKM’s goals for the two-year membership with the Advisory Board include increasing the firm’s knowledge-base at all staff levels in healthcare design and project delivery and increasing the firm’s visibility as an expert in healthcare design with clients and potential clients by utilizing the Advisory Board’s extensive resources in their projects.
According to Schrott, healthcare facilities are one of the most complicated building types in architecture. Each planning and design project is unique and each has to facilitate interface with multiple stakeholders and objectives. “In order to best serve our healthcare clients, it is important that IKM be as knowledgeable as possible regarding this industry,” he explains.
He adds that they believe it is through that strong knowledge base that they can help lead their clients: to a more comprehensive understanding of the issues surrounding a particular design project, to a thorough exploration of the potential solutions to satisfy that project’s goals and objectives, and to make an informed decision regarding the best solution.
“Becoming members of the Advisory Board provides IKM with a large pool of research and knowledge so that we can support our clients with architectural design solutions that are innovative and informed and are based on research and evidence as well as representative of the best practices,” says Schrott.
The Advisory Board membership provides IKM with white papers, predictive volume tools, modality metrics, benchmarking examples, industry trends and available research staff to address project specific questions. Their clients will benefit from this expanded knowledge base and all of their staff will be able to grow their personal skill sets more effectively and expeditiously.
“IKM will now be able to support solutions as more research based and less anecdotally and experienced base,” says Schrott. “We are excited about offering this level of expertise to clients during this time of industry uncertainty. We believe this will help us to more effectively support all aspects of our clients’ missions.”
In addition to membership to the Advisory Board, IKM is also active in its local professional organization, the AIA – American Institute of Architects, and have been recognized nationally for its Intern Development Program where it had been awarded “Firm of the Year” designation. Many of its staff are part of the AIA’s knowledge cohort, the Architecture Academy of Health.
Schrott is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) which is an advanced certification of practice. ACHA supports the advancement and recognition of the value of trained healthcare architects that support the planning and facility needs of the industry through the use of evidence based design to create patient centric solutions that are cost effective and supportive of the client’s mission.
When asked to look into his crystal ball to see what changes are on the horizon over the next two years in healthcare architecture and design, Schrott believes as the healthcare industry continues to transition from a volume based to a value based reimbursement system, we will see capital investment focused on reorganizing a system’s outpatient services.
“This will include a push towards developing facilities in the communities that the institution serves and co-locating the appropriate services to facilitate the shift to wellness/prevention and chronic disease management,” he says.
He adds that institutions will still need to make some investment in the Acute Care Hospital with renovations that focus on gaining efficiencies and delivering the highest quality of care to an inpatient population whose acuity level will continue to increase. Facilities will continue to reform processes to support greater efficiency and less waste as reimbursements become more restricted.
“The trend of creating spaces that are welcoming and comfortable will remain the aesthetic for both in and out patient design solutions in order to help that institution to be the facility chosen by a consumer base that will be increasingly exercising their power of choice,” he says.
Looking ahead to projects that IKM has in the works, Schrott says the firm will continue to see the focus on Outpatient Care Centers. “We have several on the boards at this point. As the Affordable Care Act pushes our clients towards a population health model of care we are seeing an increasing work load of off campus facilities.”
There will always be some investment on the main campuses of our clients, notes Schrott. This component of facility upgrades, with few exceptions, is focused on providing upgraded space to support more complex diagnostic and treatment spaces which are addressing the needs of an increasing acuity level of patients.
“The other area where we are seeing increasing activity is in infrastructure upgrades,” he says. “The recession caused many of these projects to go on hold to preserve capital and we are now seeing some of these projects move forward.”
For more information on IKM, visit www.ikminc.com.