Dec 19, 2023


by Elmira Shojaei

4 Technology Trends Shaping the Future of Healthcare Design

The world of healthcare is undergoing a remarkable transformation, with technology at the forefront of this evolution. In recent years, the integration of innovative technologies has revolutionized healthcare delivery and, subsequently, the design of healthcare facilities, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and patient outcomes. Let’s explore four technology trends currently shaping the future of healthcare design.


Imagine a pharmacy where medications are dispensed with precision and efficiency, errors are minimized, and the entire process is streamlined, allowing pharmacy staff to focus on more complex tasks. Robotic pharmacy systems automate tasks traditionally performed by pharmacists. These robots can precisely measure, dispense, and label medications, ensuring the correct dosage for each patient.

As highlighted by chief of applications Gary Fritz, Stanford Health Care is pioneering a global implementation utilizing Swisslog Holding AG robots with dispensing stations from Onmincell, Inc. and a pharmacy management system from Epic System Corp. Alternately, Denso Robotics is another manufacturer that offers small assembly robots with more axes for faster storage and retrieval and is utilized by renowned Finnish healthcare tech company NewIcon.

The implementation of a robotic pharmacy system has several impacts on architectural space, HVAC load, electrical requirements, and Main Distribution Frame (MDF)/Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) size. Architecturally, it requires dedicated space and efficient layout planning to accommodate the robots and optimize workflow. The system’s heat generation mandates HVAC systems designed to handle the additional load, ensuring optimal conditions for both the robots and personnel. Specific electrical requirements necessitate infrastructure upgrades for safe and efficient power distribution. Furthermore, integration with the hospital’s network may impact the MDF and IDF, requiring adjustments for increased data traffic and robust networking capabilities.


Efficient logistics is paramount throughout the vast and busy corridors of healthcare facilities. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are autonomous mobile robots transforming how materials and supplies are transported within hospitals. These smart vehicles navigate through predefined paths using sensors and artificial intelligence, optimizing the transportation of medications, equipment, and other essentials.

AGVs enhance the workflow by reducing the time and effort spent on manual transportation tasks, such as handling laundry delivery or trash disposal. They also contribute to a safer environment by minimizing the need for human transportation, allowing healthcare professionals to focus on patient care. With AGVs, healthcare facilities can achieve a more streamlined and responsive supply chain, ensuring that routine yet essential tasks are executed seamlessly.

Introducing Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in hospitals and clinics necessitates careful consideration of various design drivers to ensure seamless integration and operational efficiency.

  • Space planning is paramount, involving the establishment of designated paths and optimized routes for AGV movement, allowing for efficient transportation within the healthcare facility.
  • Address wayfinding through clear signage and intersection planning to facilitate smooth AGV navigation.
  • Meet space requirements with thoughtful design considerations for charging stations and ample clearance space for AGV movement.
  • Workflow efficiency is enhanced by seamlessly integrating AGVs into overall processes, thereby reducing manual transportation efforts.
  • Implement safety measures with features that ensure the safe interaction of AGVs with human occupants, contributing to a secure environment with minimized human transportation.
  • Integrating technology, such as sensors and artificial intelligence, facilitates precise AGV navigation and compatibility with existing hospital technologies.
  • User experience is a crucial focus, with designs tailored to how AGVs interact with both staff and patients, aiming to minimize disruptions and optimize overall user satisfaction in the healthcare environment.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary trend making waves across various industries, and healthcare is no exception. In healthcare design, IoT refers to the interconnected network of devices and sensors that collect and exchange data in real time. This connectivity enables healthcare professionals to monitor and manage patient health, track equipment, and optimize resource utilization.

Stanford Hospital boasts a strong infrastructure supporting 120,000 connected devices, ensuring smooth 4K video streaming. The system is adaptable for future upgrades, including the incorporation of 5G wireless connectivity. The hospital is also innovatively interconnecting magnetic resonance imaging equipment and various systems, promising a more integrated and responsive healthcare environment.

IoT devices can be embedded in wearable health trackers, medical equipment, and even hospital infrastructure. For example, smart beds equipped with sensors can monitor patients’ vital signs and adjust positions to prevent bedsores. Wearable devices can provide continuous health monitoring for patients with chronic conditions, allowing for early intervention and personalized care plans. The seamless integration of IoT enhances the overall patient experience and facilitates more proactive and preventive healthcare.


While remote patient monitoring (RPM) dates back to the 1970s, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its adoption and led to advancement in RPM technology.  Now, doctors and nurses can monitor multiple patients from a single remote location, significantly improving healthcare delivery. Alerts and alarms have shifted to secure mobile devices carried by healthcare professionals, reducing noise levels and enhancing responsiveness. This shift represents a transformative leap, ensuring that critical information reaches the right individuals promptly, contributing to a quieter and more efficient healthcare environment.

Integrating RPM technology in healthcare environments brings about various design considerations to enhance efficiency and optimize the patient monitoring experience.

  • Monitoring Centers: Designing centralized monitoring centers is crucial, involving space planning for infrastructure and ergonomic workstations to facilitate seamless remote patient monitoring.
  • Technology Integration: Technology integration focuses on incorporating user-friendly interfaces and accommodating monitoring equipment within designated spaces.
  • Privacy and Security: Emphasizing privacy and security ensures compliance with regulatory standards and safeguards patient data.
  • Ergonomics and Comfort: Prioritizing ergonomics and comfort in workstation design supports healthcare professionals during extended monitoring, encompassing considerations such as lighting, seating, and layout.
  • Connectivity Infrastructure: Connectivity infrastructure is an important aspect, with the design of robust IT infrastructure for seamless connectivity and reliability of communication systems.
  • Flexibility for Future Advancements: Consider flexibility for future advancements by designing adaptable spaces and incorporating modular layouts to easily integrate emerging technologies.
  • Noise Reduction: Implement noise reduction strategies to establish a focused and quiet monitoring environment, incorporating acoustic design considerations.
  • Patient Room Integration: Patient room integration involves incorporating remote monitoring capabilities with thoughtful design considerations for the layout and placement of monitoring devices.

This comprehensive approach ensures that remote monitoring positively impacts healthcare spaces by addressing various design aspects for enhanced functionality and user experience.


As we look ahead to the future of healthcare design, it’s clear that technology is pivotal in shaping a more efficient, patient-centered, and accessible healthcare system. The integration of robotic pharmacy systems, Automated Guided Vehicles, the Internet of Things, and remote monitoring represents a new era in healthcare, where innovation meets compassion to deliver better outcomes for patients and healthcare professionals alike. By embracing these technological trends, healthcare facilities can pave the way for a healthier and more connected future.

The Future Of Work Now: Pharmacists And The Robotic Pharmacy At Stanford Health Care (
New Stanford Hospital Takes Holistic Approach to Technology – WSJ
Robot for the NEWICON pharmacy – Klain Robotics


Elmira Shojaei

Elmira is a versatile project manager, healthcare planner, and designer, drawing on over a decade of experience in the AEC industry. A strong advocate for evidence-based design, she is committed to enhancing patient well-being and experiences while optimizing staff efficiency and productivity. When not at work, Elmira channels her energy into her love for painting, cycling, yoga, and worldwide travel.

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