Designing for Health: How Interior Design Informs Medical Research and Technology

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"Designing for Health" is a monthly, web-exclusive series from the healthcare interior design leaders at Perkins+Will that focuses o the issues, trends, challenges, and research involved in crafting today's healing environments.

Welcome to a world where the lines are blurred between vision and innovation. Walking into our first meeting with the Dayas, a dynamic father and son duo who are about to transform the healthcare industry, we knew immediately that they were no ordinary clients. The ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that exudes from these two individuals transported our design team into a challenging and highly creative thought process.   
Dr. Kanti Daya, chairman of the board of Daya Medicals, Inc., and his son Justin, chief executive officer, have taken "off the shelf" technology and applied research and science along with evidence based design to develop the MedPod, a customized patient centered medication dispensing device and global medical data hub. It uses cellular technology to interact in real time to notify physicians and insurance companies, and any other HIPPA approved participant in the patient's medical ecosystem, when a patient has not taken their medication. Each pod or unit is supplied with a cartridge that is customized for each patient with his or her prescribed drug doses. The Dayas, both having medical and legal backgrounds, have translated this medical research into a device that will ultimately reduce costs of pharmaceutical therapeutics, increase advocacy and health outcomes, and create new jobs worldwide. The potential ease of accessibility for the general patient population goes hand in hand with DayaMed's prime directive of "Sanitas Pro Omnibus" or "Health for All", says Dr. Daya.

Partnering with FedEx, Sprint and AmerisourceBergan for their logistics, telecom and pharmaceutical needs, the Dayas needed to build their first production facility to be used as a beta test as they expand worldwide. During our visioning sessions, they discussed how innovation is at the core of everything they do and how this innovation is nurtured by the environment of need. This need created the structure upon which this product would be produced. Their physical space not only needed to support this process but inform it. Their guiding principles would quickly become our design principles: state of the art research and development, improving outcomes and lives, and strategic partnerships for a global reach.

The initial programmatic components necessary for their start up facility included "The Node"- a meeting area for their creative team, "The Vessel," which would house their call center, and "The Tour Route," allowing their pharmacy and distribution area to be on display. The Node consisted of open collaborative and transparent spaces where a high level of creative thought is not only nurtured but focused towards the future and DayaMed's vision. It is a comfortable and inviting place where their creative teams can innovate, evolve their research, and continually move the needle towards reducing costs and raising patient clinical outcomes. This is an example of what Dr. Daya refers to as "disruptive innovation"; where the thought process and the physical space become one, building clarity for a successful end result.

The Vessel was strategically and centrally placed within the space. It becomes the vehicle for communication between the facility and millions of patients around the globe. It can easily trace the location of the MedPod, knows exactly when the patient has taken their prescribed medications and alerts family members and physicians if there is a problem. Designed as a tubular pill-like room, it is an active, futuristic and highly technical space where every physical aspect: light, sound and views continually advance the clinical protocol. It inspires human to human connection while providing a fresh approach to delivering knowledge and care in a way that reinforces the company's commitment to building healthy communities around the globe.    

The Tour Route provided an intimate view into the inner workings of the pharmacy and distribution center. Its large expanse of glass panels showcases how its unique automated system has brought together valuable partners and technology in a symbiotic relationship ultimately raising healthcare outcomes. Each piece of equipment proudly displays a graphic of the DNA strand, the core institutional value of the human body also used in the Daya Medicals company logo. It is a clean, organized, and well illuminated space with a defined structured function that will continually evolve with each new advancement in technology and research. A display case at the beginning of the route displays the MedPod unit along with other devices currently being developed.

With the launch of its flagship facility at the end of 2012 and the full partnerships of global business icons, the Dayas are now planning their new ground up, headquarter building in Florida as a prototype that will inform all others in the future. Once completed, their first venture will take them to Canada, Mexico, France, Colombia and Bahrain, where they plan to serve a greater population with the MedPod. They will construct buildings that will not only serve their functional purpose, but will become iconic landmarks representing DayaMed's mission. "Death is a disease... as with an organism, organ, tissue, or biological molecule, the structure empowers and meets function. The structure of our facility catalyzes the functional deployment of the MedPod product and service helping patients connect and empower their medical care while raising therapeutic outcomes, and lowering healthcare costs", says Justin Daya.

The Dayas are idealists—visionaries who strive to bridge research and technology from the past with the present and future, while reinterpreting traditional techniques into highly sophisticated results for the enhancement of medical care.

Marlene M. Liriano, IIDA, is a principal at Perkins+Will. She serves as the interior design director and interior discipline leader for the Miami office. She can be reached at

Past installment of "Designing for Health" include (click on the title to access the full article):
Exploring Collaboration in the Consolidated Interventional Platform
The Differences between U.S. and U.K. Clinical Planning Models
Widening a Circle of Natural Inclusion
Mentoring the Next Generation of Healthcare Design Professionals
When the Professional Becomes the Patient--An Insider's Perspective