Michaela Artus-Kraft: Technological Breakthroughs are Revolutionizing the Way Healthcare is Being Delivered
Project Manager at WSP in Germany
How did you get into healthcare design?
As an architect, I have worked on numerous schemes for non-profit companies and public clients in the context of limited financial resources to gain optimal performance. My move to the high-performance hospital sector was a logical next step.
What are the main trends challenging healthcare in Germany?
Reducing mortality from preterm birth is one area and WSP in Germany is working on three projects with hospitals across the country with this focus in mind.
Preventing and treating mental health problems is another key challenge and an area in which we have considerable expertise, for example, our Geronto Psychiatry facility in Wunstorf.
Reducing cancer-related deaths and increasing cancer survivors’ quality of life is an important objective and informed our approach to Klinikum Offenbach and the Universitätsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf. Treatment, diagnostics and care tailored to gender is a growing trend.
What is the most memorable healthcare project you have worked on?
I’ve had the chance to work on a number of visionary healthcare projects in Germany, but the realisation of Klinikum Offenbach, a six-storey, 720-bed hospital, is one of my most memorable projects. Our task here was to develop a future-ready hospital, within a fixed budget and fixed funding to an extremely ambitious time schedule. The project had to respond to increasing numbers of patients during the project lead-in time by creating additional space within a restricted site.
What are some of the top healthcare innovations WSP in Germany has designed?
Developing high-performance green buildings for Klinikum Lichtenfels and Klinikum Offenbach. By helping to create energy-efficient systems for these facilities we have been able to reduce investment and operational costs.
What do you think about the effect of technology on healthcare?
Technological breakthroughs are revolutionizing the way healthcare is being delivered. Modern technology has changed the structure and organization of the entire medical field. Diagnostics have never been easier and more accurate. Minimally invasive surgeries, especially within the disciplines of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, have also become more common in recent years.
But this is not to say that the latest technology is essential to each patient’s recovery. There are many factors which have an influence on whether a treatment is successful. Compliance with hygiene standards is a good example of this. In Germany, many people die each year as a result of multi-resistant germs. It certainly is our job to bring forward the benefits of modern engineering. But the maintenance of high hygiene standards is another key area of responsibility.
If you were a piece of medical equipment what would you be?
A life-support machine (ECMO) – to keep all essential functions going!
If you had a super power what would it be?
As a sci-fi fan, time travel would be perfect. It would be interesting to see how science will influence our lives in the future.
An architect by profession, Michaela specializes in overseeing the planning of hospital builds. From the design phase through to the admission of the first patients, Michaela ensures that new hospitals are delivered to the client’s brief, on schedule and to budget. With a particular focus on high-performance facilities and university hospitals, Michaela has worked on a number of advanced, ‘future proof’ buildings, including Klinikum Offenbach.
A well-known networker within the German healthcare sector, Michaela is a regular on the conference lecture circuit. She heads up WSP in Germany’s partnership with the University of Darmstadt (Department of Civil Engineering) in the research and development of areas within healthcare management such as lean construction principles.
Among Michaela’s notable achievements is her work with the Bavarian State Ministry of Health to develop a benchmark energy efficient Green Hospital at Klinikum Lichtenfels for other state built hospitals to emulate.
A devotee of the opera, Michaela is also an avid science fiction film fan. Her number one hero is Luke Skywalker.