Research report details how a cancer patient’s environment impacts their treatment journey

HMC Architects released a research report, Design for Empathy: How the Environment Impacts a Cancer Patient’s Journey. The main objective of the study is to understand the cancer care journey by identifying opportunities to enhance patient experiences and to implement lessons learned into the firm’s cancer care facility design and delivery process.

“At HMC, we value and invest in research because we are committed to deliver human-centric design,” said HMC’s Healthcare Planner and Researcher Adeleh Nejati, AIA, PhD, LEED AP, WELL AP, EDAC. “Research can help guide our process and measure our success.”

The report represents input from 12 individuals who have either been patients themselves or had a family member in treatment. It includes people across a variety of demographics as it follows their feelings, thinking, actions through diagnosis, treatment decision, active treatment and management/follow up or end of life.

The data provides new insight into what makes a cancer patient’s journey more encouraging—for them and their families or caregivers—and how design and strategy can respond to this to create better outcomes. The report also includes strategies on how we design facilities to protect immunocompromised cancer patients in the wake of the COVID-19 and future pandemics.

“As architects, we focus on the environmental touch points that support hope and resolve,” said Healthcare Practice Leader Chris Naughton, AIA, ACHA. “So, we mapped the process to learn more about the benefits patients and their family members perceived.”

HMC has specialized in the planning and design of healthcare spaces for the last 80 years. Through the lens of research, the firm is exploring cancer care as an opportunity to learn, reinvent, and most importantly help our clients to better support their communities. The patient stories outlined in the report have become the design firm’s lessons and the patients’ journeys will inform how we design the cancer care facilities of tomorrow.

Learn more of what HMC has uncovered by downloading the full report here on the HMC Architects website and viewing the accompanying short film.