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In conversation with Sandra Woodall: The rise of hospital without walls in a digital era

Article-In conversation with Sandra Woodall: The rise of hospital without walls in a digital era

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In a recent CityscapeWIRE podcast titled 'Designing the Hospital of the Future', Sandra Woodall, Design Principal at Tangram Gulf, delves into the fascinating intersection of architecture, technology, and healthcare.

Here is a glimpse of the conversation between Teneshia Naidoo (TN) and Sandra Woodall (SW):

T.N Welcome, Sandra. Your vision for the hospital of the future is groundbreaking. Can you share with us how this idea came about?

S.W Thank you, the idea originated from a simple question: How can we make healthcare more sustainable and accessible? This led me to envision a healthcare system integrated within the metaverse, where physical and virtual realms converge to enhance patient care.

T.N That's quite a leap. How does this concept practically reduce the carbon footprint of hospitals?

S.W Traditional hospitals are, by their nature, resource intensive. By moving consultations to the metaverse, we reduce the need for physical infrastructure. This transition means fewer buildings to construct and maintain, significantly cutting down the carbon emissions associated with healthcare facilities.

T.N How do you see architects' roles evolving in this new paradigm?

S.W Architects need to become innovators and technology integrators. The paradigm shift isn’t just about designing physical spaces but also about crafting experiences in virtual environments. We need to understand and apply AI, virtual reality, and other emerging technologies to create spaces that are both functional and sustainable.

T.N Speaking of AI, how significant is its role in this new era of healthcare architecture?

S.W AI is a cornerstone. It allows for more personalized care in the healthcare sector and more efficient, sustainable designs in architecture. AI can analyse vast amounts of data to optimise building designs for energy efficiency, or in healthcare, for patient treatment plans.

T.N How can the metaverse enhance the patient experience in this future landscape?

S.W The metaverse opens doors to accessible and flexible healthcare. Imagine a world where patients can receive consultations from the comfort of their homes, or where doctors train in virtual environments that simulate real-life scenarios without any risks. It’s about making healthcare more patient-centric and less intimidating.

T.N With such a focus on technology, what remains the role of physical healthcare facilities?

S.W They will still be vital, especially for specialised care and surgeries. What changes is their function – they become centers for complex treatments, with routine care largely moving online. It’s about creating a hybrid model that leverages the best of both physical and virtual care.

T.N As we wrap up, what advice would you give to aspiring architects and designers?

S.W Stay curious and adaptable. The future of architecture lies in our ability to embrace and integrate new technologies. Don’t be afraid to experiment and push boundaries. The field is evolving, and so should we.

T.N Your insights are not just enlightening but also inspiring, Sandra. Thank you for sharing your vision with us.

S.W It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for having me.


Links to listen to the podcast   Spotify , Apple Podcasts ,Google Podcasts 


As we conclude this insightful conversation with Sandra Woodall on the future of healthcare architecture, it's worth noting an exciting opportunity for further exploration of this topic. Imagine a stage where experts gather to discuss the transformation of healthcare infrastructure, integrating sustainability and digital innovation.

This vision comes to life at Arab Health's 'Transformation Talks' on February 1st, 2024.

From 11:00 to 11:45 AM, a panel of experts will illuminate the evolving landscape of healthcare facilities in the Middle East, offering a deeper understanding and further discussion on this revolutionary approach to medical infrastructure.

For those captivated by the fusion of healthcare and technology, this panel promises to be an enlightening continuation of the ideas Sandra Woodall has shared with us today.

More information and registration here

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