Kevin Cassidy: Hospitals in Canada are Getting Smarter by Integrating Building Systems with Clinical Systems
National Healthcare Lead, WSP in Canada
How does the healthcare system in Canada work?
Canada has a public healthcare system that is delivered by each province’s respective government. From a construction and infrastructure perspective, this has resulted in various procurement models across the various provinces including traditional Design-Bid, Design Build and Public Private Partnerships (P3). WSP is a major player in all of these models across the country.
What do you think is the next big thing in healthcare and how can engineering help this?
There is definitely a trend towards involving more ambulatory and community based healthcare, services are moving out of hospitals and into the home and community. In order to support this, our hospital building infrastructure is going to need to accommodate new communication technologies and allow patients to access information from their homes and local clinics. Properly engineered systems will enable this communication between the home and the hospital.
A related trend is that hospitals in Canada are getting smarter by integrating building systems with clinical systems. This lets the buildings react automatically to the needs of the staff and patients and seamlessly transfer information between departments and caregivers. Working with our construction partners, we are excited to be designing the smart hospital of the future – the recently awarded McKenzie Vaughan Hospital in Ontario.
What has been your most memorable project and why?
The project that still stands out most vividly in my mind is the Cardiac Diagnostic Unit project at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. One of my first projects with the firm in 2001, it was not a particularly large project, however, it was very complicated, involving the renovation of a 1960s’ era building to accommodate two cardiac cath labs and an interventional MRI.
The project has resulted in the hospital being able to save more lives of children both in Canada and abroad. This was the project that got me hooked on healthcare engineering.
What do you do when you’re not working?
When my two young kids and dog aren’t keeping me busy, I like to satisfy my passion for music by attending concerts, collecting albums and playing, and building, electric guitars.
If you worked in a hospital, what role would you choose to do?
A researcher. Like engineers, health researchers are on a quest to find solutions to some very challenging problems.
If you had a super power what would it be?
Flight! Who wouldn’t want to be able to fly?
If you were a piece of medical equipment what would you be?
MRI scanner. I think it is amazing that we have a machine that can find the problems that afflict us without having to ever make a single incision.
Kevin focused on the health sector early in his engineering career after working on a complex renovation scheme at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 2001. The scheme perfectly married his love of problem solving with a desire to impact people’s lives for the better.
Fifteen years later and Kevin still thrives on the technical and creative challenges that the ever-evolving health sector presents to designers. He is also still working with Toronto’s children’s hospital, including its latest scheme to create a new, state-of-the-art campus masterplan.
Specialising in electrical and hospital communications engineering, Kevin likes to take the time to understand health professionals’ and patients’ needs, and help create environments that facilitate the delivery of effective care.