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Healthcare architects and designers have always told me that they do their best work when there is a visionary leader who "gets it."

Because you can bring all the latest design innovations to the table, but if the CEO or board doesn't understand or value the connection between the physical environment and outcomes, you'll end up with just a good project instead of a great project.

The hospital CEOs that I know who have built great projects have many common qualities.

They are open to learning.  They listen. They push for excellence and don't take no for an answer.

They know that there is a lot they don't know. They leave their egos at the door.

And they care.  Care about their patients, their employees, and their community.

A major building project is a CEO's legacy -- something many of them only do once in a lifetime over the course of their career.

A CEO Who Gets It

Earlier this week, I spoke to Marian Walsh, President and CEO of Bridgepoint Active Healthcare in Toronto, for a story I'm writing on the new Bridgepoint Hospital for the November issue of Healthcare Design magazine. She gets it.

The building (which was designed by Stantec, KPMB, HDR, and Diamond Schmitt) is architecturally stunning, incorporates many evidence-based design features, and they are planning to conduct the "most rigorous hospital facility post-occupancy evaluation in the history of Canada."

It was refreshing to talk to Walsh, whose vision was for a new kind of healthcare in a new kind of hospital -- a civic building, urban place, and a place for healthcare and community to come together.  From what I can tell, the vision has been realized.

And the fact that Walsh wants to do the research to test whether what Bridgepoint did worked and contribute to the knowledge base is beyond fabulous.  We need more CEOs who think like this.

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Leave a comment

Derek Parker

11 years ago

That sounds great. However the fact that in our design world we have to do a POE to see if we got the performance and outcomes we expected, after several years and millions of dollars, says a lot about our industry and its outdated processes. No other industry that I know operates this way. Computer chips? Aircraft? Ships? They all simulate and optimize so that they know the costs and performance before they build, not years later after VE and POE. Nevertheless a great CEO is priceless and to be valued. In 50 years I have had 5.

Sara Marberry

11 years ago

Derek, you are so right. Although, I still think it is important to measure and document what works to add to the evidence-design research database.

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What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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