A conversation about the future of rural healthcare.
Don Peterson discusses the future of rural healthcare including the challenges, current realities, a view from the private industry and the right next step. Watch our short four-part video series and learn more.
Sneezing. Coughing. The cries heard ’round the world that result from ever-dreaded vaccinations and shots. Private conversations between a patient and a doctor. News that a patient doesn’t want anyone else to hear.
We’ve all heard these muffled and sometime not-so-muffled sounds as we’ve coughed, sneezed, waited for our own vaccinations, and as we’ve whispered our own vulnerable questions to trusted doctors. If the walls of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and healthcare facilities could talk, they’d tell stories of heartbreak, celebration, healing, and comfort. But it’s fair to say that those stories aren’t for the walls’ to share.
As healthcare facilities navigate this new decade and all that came from the most recent year, the need for patient-focused facilities has become an important topic of conversation. The need for adaptability, technology, innovation, and privacy.
The need for those stories that belong with the patient alone to stay with them. The need for walls that can keep a secret.
“It’s important to design these walls in healthcare facilities in a way that isolates sound as much as possible,” says Jeff Teel, Director of Acoustics at Henderson Engineers.
Confidentiality and privacy in healthcare construction starts with design.
“During design, especially at healthcare facilities, the sound isolation between areas can be very important for speech privacy and for patient confidentiality,” says Teel.
When walls are designed and assembled off-site, like in prefab construction, designers and contractors are able to begin with the end in mind. Unlike drywall that’s installed onsite, these prefab walls are designed using DIRTT’s proprietary ICE software. This software translates CAD and BIM/Revit to DIRTT, and these details translate factory data into installation instructions, which can be cut down to 1/16” of an inch, resulting in less sound transmission.
Sound transmission is measured by STC, or Sound Transmission Class, and is defined as the rating of a wall’s ability to block sound as it travels through the air. The higher the number, the quieter the walls.
Acoustical consultants like Jeff Teel perform field testing that measures the STC rating of a wall. You can watch a recent test Jeff performed for our client, Kansas City Orthopaedic Institute, here.
Because walls like DIRTT’s modular assemblies are designed and assembled offsite to a 1/16” of an inch, they typically carry higher STC ratings than traditional construction. For example, the walls we tested in the patient room at the Kansas City Orthopaedic Institute received a 50 STC rating, meaning loud speech on the other side of the wall is barely, if at all, audible.
2020 caused almost every industry to change, and change quickly. The healthcare industry has always experienced the need to adapt and change, but the past year has accelerated those needs and brought even more questions that need answers.
THE ACOUSTIC TEST RESULTS USING DIRTT WALL SOLUTIONS
“On top of the tight timeline, we really wanted a space that was different than your average dental office. We wanted to set ourselves apart from other practices…”
In 2018, Dr. Chad Wollard, and the team at Valencia Endodontics on the West Plaza of Kansas City, were faced with a very unique challenge: A lease renegotiation stalled, leaving approximately five months for the Valencia team to find a new space, communicate with their patients, and move their entire operation.
That’s when they engaged our team at Built, along with our partners at Urban Prairie Architectural Collaborative.
“By the time our plans were actually approved and finished, we had about 65 days to build the space out.”
“At that point, there were concrete floors in the space, open duct work, and electrical cords hanging from an unfinished ceiling,” Dr. Wollard recalled. “I was pretty nervous that we weren’t going to be able to meet the timeline. With traditional construction, there was no way we were going to meet that timeline.”
Fortunately for the Valencia practice, our team at Built, and Barrett Kroll, the architect from Urban Prairie, remained steadfast, calm, and guided Dr. Wollard through the process, ensuring all timelines would be met, and his team would be back up and running in the new space.
“On top of the tight timeline, we really wanted a space that was different than your average dental office. We wanted to set ourselves apart from other practices that just had drywall with paint on the walls. Having different textures and materials on the wall, with unique lighting and door spaces, Built had a lot of design options that really weren’t available through traditional construction,” said Dr. Wollard.
The team at Built was incredible, they’re perfectionists.
Even with taking a week off for the Christmas holiday, the combined teams finished the project, and seamlessly helped Valencia close their prior office on a Friday, and open in their new, modern space that next Monday.
“Closing down for an extended period of time was just not an option for us. We really had zero downtime. The team at Built was incredible, they’re perfectionists. All the walls and doors that you see in our space were put up in a span of three to four days,” Dr. Wollard added.
And now that they’re in the space, what has the experience been like?
“It makes me smile, really every morning when I walk in…it’s a crisp, clean look. Even after having this space for a year and a half, it looks brand new. The design aspect, the look and the feel, our patients absolutely love it, which puts a bigger smile on my face,” Dr. Wollard concluded.