6 uses of XR in healthcare design

Hospitals are undoubtedly special building types. Between the number of regulations to the breadth of stakeholders, the job of a healthcare designer is a balancing act.

Here is how savvy architects are using Virtual and Augmented Reality to connect with their clients throughout the life of a healthcare project.

6 Uses of XR in Healthcare Design

  1. Design Development

  2. Virtual Reality Mockups

  3. Augmented Reality Mockups

  4. Telepresence

  5. Simulation and Testing

  6. Stakeholder Communication

  7. *?Seeking Great Pilot Partners

1. Design Development with Virtual and Augmented Reality Mockups

In the early days of VR for architecture?healthcare projects were among the first to see dollar impacts by supplementing or even replacing some mockups with VR. Simon Manning recalls a project at ZGF when it was impossible to find a warehouse to host a cardboard mockup Lean design event. That?s when he first started virtual reality mockups.

When we work in VR, we are able to keep a record of design changes. Old physical mockups get destroyed. Necessarily. The virtual mockups get saved, week after week, helping inform stakeholders at various stages of the project.

When we did wayfinding studies, we did a couple VR design review sessions. In one project, the first design review meeting had 3 people and still resulted in a bunch of changes.

2. Virtual Reality Mockups

VR to the rescue??we were able to walk nurses and doctors through the design, get feedback, make changes in Revit and then test those changes after lunch.? What initially began as an emergency fix soon became an unexpected asset to the project.

?It was incredible to not have to wait a week or more for the reconstruction of a cardboard space and to instantly see the impact of design changes. It took way less time out of the doctors? and nurses? schedules, and saved over $45,000 in warehouse rental alone.?– Simon Manning

Best of all, we can keep records of all the design changes so that people new to the design can watch how the design process has evolved. Virtual mockups and documentation help ensure everyone is on the same page for the most constructive feedback.

3. Augmented Reality Mockups

With augmented reality, we enhance existing spaces or cardboard mockups with virtual 3D models and design options. AR adds dimension and detail to a cardboard mockup experience and allows designers and clinicians to play with equipment arrangement in already built spaces.

Bevel-Cardboard mock-up for healthcare
Cardboard mockup for healthcare
AR adds dimension and detail to a cardboard mockup

Using Magic Leap or iPad, we use AR to create a shared design experience. And since this computing is truly spatial, we?re able to extract data about where people are walking and looking?making AR and VR mockups perfect for wayfinding studies.

AR and VR mockups perfect for wayfinding studies.

AR and VR mockups are perfect for wayfinding studies


For already built conditions, iPad AR through the CareConnect app lets nurses and home health care patients communicate and place medical equipment in their homes.

4. Telepresence

Designers often forget how technically savvy clinicians are?with the advent of telemedicine, doctors are frequently popping onto Skype for check-ins with their patients. VR is just what the doctor ordered for helping designers stay connected with their end users throughout the design process.

With a couple of simple headsets, designers, end users and client reps are meeting one another within the virtual space, as its being designed.

Any stakeholders who can?t make it to 3P lean design meetings get to review them in real time or asynchronously after the meeting. It?s helpful to not have to take a busy surgeon off work for a full day to test the new surgery suite when it?s quickly and easily understood with a brief virtual exploration. ?

Care Connect AR medical design paired with telepresence with healthcare professionals

5. Simulation and Testing

When Bevel thinks of XR, we don?t just think of Augmented and Virtual Reality, we also think of all the spatial computing that happens in the interactivity engines. Interactivity engines or ?game engines? like Unity and Unreal allow us to create virtual environments and robust simulations.

For healthcare design clients especially, we?re simulating Lean data in 3D environments to provide visual proof of design interventions.

With your 3D model in an interactivity engine, we study the impacts of various design iterations on clinician and patient flow. We can interact with equipment and instruments. We can even test new procedures. Early simulations shape the efficiency of the design and happiness of its users.

Medical space planner

Medical Space Planner


6. Stakeholder Communication

We?re seeing a huge impact on client communication with mobile augmented reality. Augmented reality overlays digital models with the real world in a spatially aware way. With AR, tablets and phones transform into magic windows?transforming a real-world site into a completed building in its actual context. Mobile Augmented reality also allows us to make floorplans into mini interactive models.

Bevel AR plans from Iphone

Bevel AR plans from Iphone


Simply put, we haven?t found a simpler, more accessible tool for stakeholder communication than handheld AR.

We worked with a firm whose clients was extremely confused about the scale and scope of the work. They came to place it in 3D on the site. Where he could wander around a bare patch of dirt and see his future building. It became a trusted tool for their client interactions going forward. After weeks of fruitless meetings trying flags, paint on the ground, etc. A 5 minute iPad experience was ultimately all he needed.

* Seeking great pilot partners

Email us if…

  1. Your team loves feedback and craves better ways to communicate design

  2. You use Lean design principles or consultants and want a way to visualize this data and test it across design iterations

  3. Your team wants to immerse their clients in the design from the beginning

Above and beyond but not required:

  1. Your team are Revit power users and you want to leverage your robust 3D models like never before

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#virtualreality #Cardboardmockups #Healthcaredesign #augmentedreality #MaretThatcher