Chao said the new facility broke with the trend to create separate entrances for cancer patients. This was done originally for patient privacy but has come to stigmatize them. “For a long time, people saw disease as evidence you did something wrong and you deserved it,” he said. “This is an important change of heart.”
More than 600 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, patients and family members were interviewed before RTKL Architects in Dallas began designing Clements Hospital. Each patient room has videoconference capability, allowing patients' family members, primary-care doctors, and specialty physicians outside the hospital to participate in treatment discussions with the attending physicians.
The building has infection-resistant surfaces and nonslip bathroom floors. Its “W” shape allows for shorter hallways and more natural light. Windows in emergency department exam rooms can go from clear to opaque with the flick of a switch, eliminating the need for drapes, which increase the risk of infection.
Chao said these types of innovations show what architects can do if they have a “visionary” client.