Improving healthcare provision with the use of new technology

Sharing knowledge for ‘better healthcare worldwide,’ was the theme of the World Congress held in The Hague, Netherlands in April 2016. It was a congress with very good feelings for every visitor. It played host to a record number of Exco and Council members who joined several meetings, more countries then ever were represented and a greater number of visitors attended the Congress. The high quality of the keynote speakers made true what was promised – sharing knowledge. One of the main goals for the next two years is to continue this process. We need to continue to improve the levels of healthcare worldwide from our professions as architects, engineers, advisors and all who are responsible for their part for healthcare – real estate for hospitals and also housing for the elderly. During the Congress the inaugural

IFHE Building Award was held. This was very successful with many IFHE member organisations submitting hospital projects for consideration. The applications were judged by a panel of experts from around the world. From the many applications the top ten were selected and from these the winner and two runners up were identified. The winner was the Red Cross hospital in Japan. The award offers a special opportunity for IFHE members to show

others how they solve their healthcare problems and it is a very important extra step in making knowledge sharing possible. It was a pleasure also this year to

welcome new members from South and Central America, Colombia and Mexico. I sincerely hope more counties will follow. We are in contact with several other countries Worldwide, who I trust will become members of the IFHE in coming years. What does the future of the hospital,

healthcare and housing for the elderly look like? Are we still concentrating on the building? I have heard many times that the building is ‘just a box’, where various care functions are accommodated. Of course architecture will remain important but I believe that the architects have to change what they design for healthcare. Do we really need flexible buildings? Are we still building to last more than 40 years? Will they be relevant after that time? I think that the influence of technology, which is already available, will change this for the better... the introduction of robots cannot be stopped and the use of data will be more important every day.

The war on data has started... We are able to collect all kinds of data, but it is vitally important to understand how to use it, because the greatest fear is the

Douwe Kiestra

After completing secondary school education Douwe studied building, engineering and economics. Upon completion of these studies he was employed as a trainee with BAM, a large construction company, where he was exposed to all departments of the company. He became a director responsible for a range of building projects and an expert in building projects in the field of Healthcare. In addition Douwe has been a board member of various associations. In 2005 he left the business for

the private sector, becoming Director of Estates of a large hospital and several M2 buildings for the elderly. He completed several healthcare projects in the areas of treatment and care. At the same time Douwe became a member of NVTG – the Dutch


Association for Healthcare Engineers and Architects and was invited to join the board of the NVTG, first as member and then in 2010 as its President. Douwe also became a member of

several other associations in Healthcare, including NVZ, the Dutch Association for Hospitals. He is also a national and international keynote-speaker having been invited to speak across the globe at numerous events. In 2008 Douwe became a NVTG

representative to the IFHE Council, as well as IFHE-Europe and DACH, the combination of German speaking countries who are working under the flag of IFHE- Europe. In 2012 the Netherlands won the bid to host the IFHE Congress in 2016 which put Douwe on the IFHE Executive Committee where he sat as second vice and vice President until April 2016 when he became President.

In addition to his Presidential role he

continues to be a member of the IFHE Digest Editorial Panel, a role he has held since 2011. Being President of IFHE Douwe has relinquished the presidency of NVTG where he is now vice President. Douwe is currently Director of the

national All-round building and installation company Strukton Worksphere in the North-East region of the Netherlands which has experience building in the Elderly housing and hospital industry.


misuse of information or to use it in the wrong way, or to ignore data that might be valuable if it is used in the correct way. We are familiar with corrective and

preventative maintenance but the collected data now available allows us to predict what will happen with the building, the equipment, the installations etc... So we can improve the safety of the users, stabilise the use of our products and also reduce the life cycle costs. These are subjects that will come back

in our working groups in the same way that our Sustainable Environmental Policy has. It is important that our members see the progress and results of these groups, bringing information to share and improve knowledge worldwide. The use of the Working Groups will gain more publicity by having reports appearing in publications such as the IFHE Digest. We need more education, more sharing of knowledge and the possibilities of starting projects under the flag of the IFHE so that we all do more with our knowledge rather than only utilising it in our own familiar surroundings.

Douwe Kiestra

President – International Federation of Hospital Engineering

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