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    Credit: Jameson Simpson

In the 2013 budget request that President Barack Obama released in February, spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security makes up about 40 percent of spending. With healthcare costs rising and demand for services growing, healthcare providers and building designers alike are looking to design in order to improve efficiency.

They don’t always agree on priorities, though, according to a survey of more than 300 respondents performed by Mortenson Construction at the 2011 Healthcare Design Conference in Nashville, Tenn., which was held last fall. For example, architects register much higher enthusiasm for integrated-project-delivery (IPD) and design/build practices than healthcare providers do. Among architects, 83 percent report a growing preference for IPD, compared to 54 percent of healthcare providers.

Nor do respondents necessarily agree among themselves, it would seem. While 70 percent of respondents representing healthcare institutions say that they pursue LEED or other sustainability certifications on new projects, 52 percent of healthcare providers prefer other sustainability rating systems or no ratings at all.

One thing that architects and healthcare agree on is flexible design: 93 percent of architects and 91 percent of healthcare providers name it as a priority. While healthcare providers are tackling the current economic crisis by cutting administrative expenses, the hope is that gains in efficiency will mean that, in the future, they won’t have to.