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The Second Wave of Covid-19 and the role of hospital design: Arnab Ghosh - ET HealthWorld -

The Second Wave of Covid-19 and the role of hospital design: Arnab Ghosh – ET HealthWorld


By Arnab Ghosh
(Managing Director, Corporate Fitouts India at Colliers)

India is in trouble. The virus seems to be everywhere. Everyone has a horror story to share. The news numbs you. The mood of the nation just changed in four weeks. Our health infrastructure today appears frail and entirely unprepared for this surge.

The current crisis reveals that modern hospitals in our country lack the flexibility to accommodate sudden surges of patients caused by pandemics. We are witnessing severe space and resource crunch in most medical institutions to treat severe symptoms. Simultaneously we require isolation facilities for asymptomatic patients as they also pose an extreme risk to the rest.


To meet this challenge, what have we done to date?Spatial and organizational adaptations have been implemented to accommodate the Covid-19 patients in a hospital. Separate foot traffic routes and flows have been designed to segregate patients. Hospital administrators have also identified the need for touch-free control for lighting, temperature, and other building functions to help avoid spreading diseases on these highly used surfaces.

  • We are creating temporary emergency structures

In addition to internal changes in the hospital, the government bodies have created many emergency structures to cope with the increasing Covid cases. Some healthcare organisations have installed prefabricated modules (containers, shelters, or new modules) designed and modified to respond to the needs of the Covid-19 emergency. The major challenge faced by designers with temporary structures is that procurement, production, and installation time can typically take up three to four weeks. Important to consider their suitability concerning the level of care provided.

  • We are reconverting existing non-health structures

We have converted non-health structures – typically ‘urban containers,’ such as exhibition centers, conference centers, indoor stadiums, or railway stations – into centers for patient care. The same is again a response to the increasing numbers and finding suitable spaces that can quickly convert to a medical-friendly facility. Hotels are also fast becoming the default asset class for quick healthcare augmentation in a pandemic hit city.The future of hospital design


In the future, hospitals will have to review how they can adapt their physical environments and technical infrastructures to enable greater flexibility when responding to exceptional public health events, which generate sizeable demand surges for healthcare services. The changes adopted by this process will be limited in the case of existing hospitals but extremely important while designing new healthcare facilities.

To support its global community and realize these changes in their settings, the International Hospital Federation has established the IHF ‘Beyond Covid-19’ Task Force. The Task Force’s primary objective is to support hospitals in adopting practices realized during the Covid-19 pandemic, which have beneficially transformed healthcare services.

The Indian Situation


Healthcare in India is in a dismal state. The pandemic has further exposed the system. However, it also highlights the fact that there is immense scope to improve. A nation can only rise if it is healthy.

As policies get framed, and the public-private debate continues, designing our healthcare facilities with empathy and wisdom is essential. The infrastructure of old and new hospitals needs to must be examined based on:
a) flexibility
b) compliance, and
c) availability of resources.

Every hospital should have the ability to stretch its bandwidth in a pandemic situation. The new normal is when we prepare for all eventuality. If we fail to plan right, we are planning to fail. The writing is on the wall.


(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it. shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly).

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