Good design is good medicine

The physical environment of a hospital room, like the one on our cover, is now considered an integral part of a patient’s healing process. Multiple medical studies have shown that single-patient rooms, noise-absorbing floors and ceilings, exposure to natural light and reduction in overhead announcements encourage rest—and help patients get home sooner.

In this sense, engineers in the healthcare sector play an important role in providing patient care. They are sought after to help bridge traditional engineering skills with medical applications. They work hand in hand with medical professionals to provide a wide variety of healthcare solutions, from designing smarter facilities—right down to engineering layouts that reduce the risk of surgeons bumping elbows in the operating room—to developing diagnostic tools and rehabilitative treatments and implementing and maintaining the vast amount of system support required for modern medicine.

In “Expanding influence of engineers in healthcare infrastructure,” Michael Mastromatteo covers the creation of Canadian Standards Association Z8000, the first comprehensive standard for planning and designing hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and engineers’ involvement in the integrated design and construction of new hospital buildings and maintenance of existing infrastructure.

An excellent example of a new, state-of-the-art hospital is the Humber River Hospital in the northwest area of Toronto, Ontario, where our cover image was shot. As Marika Bigongiari explains in “Lean, green and digital,” all aspects of this totally digital hospital relied on the expertise of engineers, from implementing aggressive sustainability and digital infrastructure goals to controlling acoustics within noisy inpatient units.

Of course, healthcare engineers are also behind many of the most modern, groundbreaking medical techniques and therapeutic devices. Starting on page 60, you’ll learn about four Ontario P.Engs who are revolutionizing the way hospitals care for children with disabilities.

This issue also covers important changes to the Professional Engineers Act, which stem from the 2012 Algo Centre Mall collapse in Elliot Lake, Ontario. Find out what these changes mean for PEO’s licence holders starting on page 25. 

In the news section, we also include a summary of the annual Mercer OSPE National Engineering Compensation Survey. If you’re a member of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, you can have free access to the full report. If you aren’t, this summary is the next best thing and a must-read for engineers and employers of engineers—especially those of the millennial generation.

Finally, our Order of Honour (OOH) gala is fast approaching. On April 20, PEO will induct 13 more individuals into the OOH, an honorary society that recognizes outstanding service to the engineering profession. For more on this year’s inductees, see page 16.