PhD: Optimal hospital design
“Optimal hospital design” is a business PhD project by MSc Engineering Malene Kirstine Holst. The project is carried out in the period 2011-2014 and is developed in cooperation with ALECTIA and Aalborg University (AAU) with Central Denmark Region as third party.
The hospital design, which is generally based on practice, standards and comparisons, worked out by experienced hospital planners, architects and hospital managers, is related to numerical methods for “layout design”, to which several methods have been suggested in recent years. Engineering objectives, such as costs and performance, can relatively easy be transformed into quantitative input parameters while architectural objectives are more difficult to describe formally, especially with regard to aesthetics, use and perception. Research proposals, which have tried to automate the layout design process, have focused on locations and dimensions for connected rooms as regards the structural requirements.
By using “discrete event simulation”, developed for analysis and improvement of complex designs, the project seeks an understanding and clarification of the hospital system with respect to e.g. patient planning, registration and rules, patient movements/routes and flow diagrams, facilities and staff resources and different measurable output performance parameters, such as e.g. patient reviews and waiting times, physical utilization and use of staff and facilities.
The result of the project will be a digital tool combining “discrete event simulation” with optimization and visualization in an efficient tool for hospital planners, architects and decision-makers for an evaluation of different layouts as regards long-term efficiency and flexibility of costs, functionality and adaptability of hospital designs. In that way the project can help to answer questions, such as:
- How can the entire life cycle of the health facilities be considered in the preliminary design phase?
- How can hospitals become more sustainable and adaptable for future changes?
- What is the result of systematic models for the hospital functionality?
- How can the hospital be structured conceptually (as a unit matching the service needs and as an actual building)?
The project will consist of a preliminary phase where the existing models for the architectural layout design are tested, followed by a development of improved layout design algorithms, based on soft computing. An important assignment in the project is the mathematical formulation of lean, evidence and costs. The project will include the following assignments:
- Testing of models for architectural layout design and soft computing for solving the optimization problems.
- Evaluation and limitations of “best models” and soft computing for architectural layout design on a typical hospital design on the basis of geometrical sizes.
- Development of mathematical models for lean, evidence and costs by means of Bayesian Networks.
- Evaluation and improvement of the developed tool for “Optimal Hospital Layout Design” including development of graphical interface.
- Final report with a critical review of the achieved results related to improvement of decisions made through the hospital layout design process.
Malene Kirstine Holst
T. +45 23 395 026