How Smart Glass Helps Hospitals Adapt to Changing Demands
Modern hospitals must balance a positive healing environment with strict privacy and hygiene standards while creating spaces that can rapidly be adapted to changing demands. Discover how smart glass helps architects design better hospitals.
Hospitals have undergone significant transformation and will continue to do so. Modern healthcare facilities must offer more accessible designs for patients and staff while being able to adapt to many, often conflicting, demands across their lifetime. Fortunately, healthcare architects have found many techniques and technologies to create flexible, adaptable buildings that put patients first.
Smart glass technology helps healthcare architects create positive patient environments that promote healing while maintaining a sterile, efficient facility that minimizes contamination risk. Switchable glass and film go from clear to frosted with the flick of a switch, providing privacy on demand. Smart glass is also safety glass with built-in soundproofing and can be used as a whiteboard or rear projection screen when opaque, making it a truly versatile product.
Here are 8 ways smart glass enhances hospital design:
- Privacy and Confidentiality
Balancing patient privacy and confidentiality without making spaces feel closed off and isolated is not an easy task. Smart glass offers the best of both worlds by transitioning from clear to frosted in a fraction of a second. Whenever privacy is required, the glass can simply be switched to private via a remote control, wall switch, automation system or voice command.
- Minimizing Contamination Risk
Glass acts as a barrier against pathogens and makes it easier for hospitals to maintain a sanitary care environment. While curtains are widely used to partition off spaces for privacy, keeping them clean requires a substantial amount of time and effort as they must be removed and then replaced or laundered. Smart glass partitions are cleaned just like regular glass and can be cleaned multiple times a day, if needed. Smart glass can also be controlled contactlessly, making it less frequently touched and more hygienic. Any scuffs or smudges can be wiped away in seconds, and glass walls do not sustain damage in the same way as drywall.
Antimicrobial coatings can be added to smart glass to further enhance its performance. Learn more about how smart glass improves hygiene in healthcare settings.
- Simple Reconfigurations
Smart glass sliding doors and retractable glass walls provide flexible options for medical facilities. Optimize every possible inch of usable space and easily reconfigure rooms to create multi-use or shared spaces such as consultation areas that transition into conference rooms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of being able to quickly adapt hospitals for a surge of patients. As a result, many healthcare consultants, architects and physicians are rethinking the way hospitals are designed and how quickly they can be reconfigured during a national crisis. Glass room enclosures, partitions and dividers can be used to mark off specific areas for future areas while blending into the current floor plan. By installing glass doors equipped with switchable glass or film, hospitals can affordably adapt their space to their changing privacy needs without having to install, add or remove window treatments.
- Improved Access to Natural Light and Views
Numerous studies have shown that increased exposure to natural light during the day has a positive impact on patient recovery and staff morale. Uplifting surroundings improve mood, reduce depression and help patients establish a circadian rhythm.
Likewise, it is widely understood that connecting with nature is good for both physical and mental health. With this in mind, many hospitals are creating outdoor gardens that patients can enjoy, but for those unable to venture too far from their hospital beds are unable to reap these benefits. Therefore, strategically installing glass partitions and floor to ceiling windows can ensure all patients have access to outdoor views.
- Open, Connected Care Environments
Smart glass offers privacy without creating a cave-like atmosphere in patient rooms and doctors offices. Being in a small space can be stressful for patients, smart glass can make these spaces feel bigger and remedy this stress.
A more transparent working environment can also improve quality of care and communication. When traditional walls are used, doctors become cut off from patients, nurses and the hospital. Increasing the use of glass creates more visibility, making doctors and nurses more aware of what’s going on in their ward and leading to faster response times.
- Peace and Quiet
Hospitals are noisy environments with the bustle of footsteps, voices and beeping of machines. Peace and quiet plays an important role in patient recovery as patients need plenty of rest. Typically, sound reduction glass costs up to $100 per square foot. Smart glass includes soundproofing for free. Enjoy the benefits of privacy and silence at no extra cost.
- Increased Control and Security
Electric glass can be controlled via a wall switch, button, smart phone, automation system or voice command using Alexa or Siri. This makes adjustments quick and easy. When smart glass partitions are used in place of privacy curtains patients can even make adjustments themselves without needing to call the nurse or leave their bed.
Nurse stations and emergency room reception areas can be equipped with panic buttons in the event of an emergency that automatically makes glass surfaces switch to opaque as part of an emergency procedure. This enhances security measures in hospitals.
- Completely Customizable
Today’s hospitals are much more innovative and not interested in cookie cutter designs. PDLC privacy glass and film offer a significant advantage for healthcare architects as both products can be customized to complement the overall design aesthetic and requirements of each hospital.
Smart glass is ideal for new installations and any type of glass can be made switchable whether it is X-Ray glass or blast resistant. Smart film is easily applied to existing glass surfaces, making it the perfect retrofit option for hospital windows. Both products can be used on angles or curved glass and operable windows, walls and doors.
Using switchable glass throughout a hospital’s design can go a long way to creating a positive and open healthcare atmosphere while adhering to high standards of hygiene and confidentiality. Contact Smart Glass Country today for a free consultation or quote for your healthcare facility.
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