A Tool for Covid-19 Healthcare Facility Planning

As the world returns to work and starts planning for a new future – both near and long term, we’re sharing a decision-making framework for planning and capital investment.

By: Sherm Moreland AIA, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C // Chief Executive Officer

Facilities devoted to healthcare and health education face difficult and uncertain planning decisions. Given the parallel realities of potential viral spread and the desire to return to “normalcy,” the DesignGroup planning team sees two timelines ahead for those determining if, when, and how much their facilities need to change.

The first timeline considers solutions in a time when we begin to feel safe, the interim period before a vaccine is available. The second timeline considers post-pandemic solutions, after a vaccine has been developed and widely administered. The space between these timelines is unknown; therefore, planning for changes in current standards or significant capital expenditures must be considered carefully and patiently. DesignGroup developed a planning tool to help our clients find clarity during this ambiguous time.

As you can see below, it organizes priorities for near-, mid-, and long-term planning. While the solutions reflect current challenges, the organizational framework is a timeless result of our decades helping clients manage change in uncertain times.

Click image for larger view.


This chart an actionable representation of planning strategies discussed in a companion article, How to Plan in Response of Covid-19.

We recently shared this tool with two contrasting clients: a university with a nearly completed medical teaching facility, and a community hospital about to embark on a new phase of construction. Both faced questions they never expected while managing a once-in-four-generations crisis: How much should our plans adjust to keep staff and users safe? Where best should we spend funds? What’s the most urgent need? Will our investments be flexible and useful in the long run?

We designed this tool to help organizations provide leadership during a time with so many unknowns; it’s framework for this moment. We believe its structure can bring calm and clarity to the planning process, reduce the urge to overreact, and offer a place for all ideas to be documented and then evaluated consistently against agreed upon strategy and hierarchy.

We find it very useful – you might as well. If you need help applying it, please call us and we will assist you.

(For a broader look at planning strategies during the pandemic, please see our companion article.)



Sherm Moreland AIA, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C // CEO

CEO of DesignGroup since 2009, Sherm is a design-oriented leader who has devoted his entire career to the programming and planning of award-winning, complex healthcare projects nationwide. He is a board certified healthcare architect and a lean certified project manager and is a frequent contributor to research of the Advisory Board Company. He has published and presented nationally on issues related to healthcare design, sustainability and corporate leadership. With over 30 years of focused experience in healthcare, clients benefit from his unique depth of industry specific knowledge and understanding of the ever-changing trends that lead to best practice thinking and innovation. Sherm firmly believes in having a bias for action and the value of teamwork and collaboration as the best path for enduring project success.