November 11, 2016
Erin Peavey

In October 2016, Cornell’s Institute for Healthy Futures hosted their first annual symposium on Hospitality, Health and Design. Professionals and academicians from across architecture, hospitality, hotel management, long-term care, real estate, healthcare and technology shared their experiences and vision of the future. In this cross-campus collaboration they blend hospitality, management, environmental design and healthy policy to foster innovation. There is no replacement for the insight that cross-pollination creates from reaching outside the boundaries of a given discipline, and it was wonderful to see it in action.

5 of my top takeaways from the symposium:

  1. Certification of Health? A vigorous debate about the importance and challenges of building certification was a continuing theme, and members from Delos Well Building standard, the Living Building Challenge, Certified Healthy, and the International Academy of Design for Health shared their programs and debated the importance of certification in advancing healthy building design. Speakers debated measurements of happiness and beauty in conjunction with the importance of intangible, hard-to-quantify impacts of the built environment.
  2. Multiple Retirements – The coming generations are breaking away from traditional retirement paradigms and leaning instead for multiple mini-retirements, career changes, and moves throughout life. What this means for senior living is yet to be determined, but one trend shows seniors moving back into urban environments to be close to their families and grandchildren.
  3. Senior Living + Hospital Care – There was much interest in the vision of long-term care as an effective partner for hospitals aiming to keep admissions and readmissions down. Senior housing can reduce the cost, and potentially the risk, of a hospital stay by providing comprehensive, trained care for post-acute senior patients in a familiar setting. This trend is one to watch!
  4. What’s worth the wait? – MD Anderson Cancer Center partnered with the University of Houston’s Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management to improve patient experience in imaging by taking a hospitality lens. They found that while wait times could be a major dissatisfier, patients often viewed wait time based on the value of what they are waiting for. For example, waiting to see a world class doctor – reasonable; waiting for your car in valet, however, was not.
  5. “Sub-Segmenting the Market” – Throughout multiple healthcare and senior care experiences, this emerged as a resounding theme. To provide hospitality in healthcare, you have to know your audience – are they repeat customers looking to be treated as family, or are they stopping by and looking for expedited service? Much like population health, this requires understanding the multiple populations served in any location. 

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