César Rodarte
Director General
View from the Top

Building A Healing Environment

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 09/11/2020 - 13:55

Q: How can you participate in the changes to the healthcare system that the government is planning?

A:  I recently attended the congress of the Mexican Association of Architects Specialized in Health (SMAES) where the Ministry of Health presented its plans related to health infrastructure. The data show that many hospitals and clinics have been abandoned or closed because of a lack of staff or equipment. As part of SMAES, our job is to help the government identify damaged infrastructure or facilities that lack the necessary infrastructure to operate properly.

IMSS is trying to build new hospitals following a Building Information Modeling (BIM) approach, which implies generating and managing data of a building during its entire life cycle. In ARQmedyca we are implementing BIM technology because it allows the integration of all areas: air conditioning, electrical systems and databases, among many others. Also, the different engineering services that are needed for a hospital to come together would be connected from the beginning.

The private sector has not dabbled much in BIM modeling because it has been present in Mexico for no more than six years. Many architectural offices are still using Autocad, which is quickly being replaced by Revit, which itself is part of the BIM revolution as its 3D modeling allows for a simpler engineering junction.

Q: How have you advanced on your goals regarding research on environmental psychology?

A: We have already published our results on this in the IFHE Digest 2020 International Federation of Hospital Engineering. Our research is based on four main points: the color of hospital rooms, lighting, decoration and virtual reality and its impact on patient recovery. We are working with a hospital on a test that compares a regular room with one of the two we modified based on our research. To get the results, we give the patients a questionnaire that asks about their feelings while being in our rooms. One room is painted green, which is related to nature, while the other is blue to evoke the sky and the ocean. Both colors are theoretically supposed to help with the patient’s recovery and make it faster.

For the NewCity Medical Plaza hospital in Tijuana, our client is allowing us to put landscapes on the walls and to give the hospital a more zen environment. We intend to study patient results under these conditions to gauge the benefit.

Q: Is there any other area that you think needs to be addressed in terms of infrastructure?

A: We are very aware of COFEPRIS’ normativity, which is a constant worry for our clients. We work with our clients during the architectural project and when applying for the sanitary construction permit from COFEPRIS. This gives us credibility and trust with the client, as it reflects our involvement and commitment to the project. It is very common to find finished infrastructure projects that cannot be used because of authorization issues. On many occasions, the requested change to the infrastructure leads to higher costs.

Authorizations from COFEPRIS for construction projects are twofold. The first part is the sanitary construction permit, which takes around a month to clear, and the second part is the operational license that comes after the project is finished and COFEPRIS is satisfied that the project was built according to what was previously authorized.

Q: What are the most important projects that you are working on right now?

A: ARQmedyca is working on the two most important medical tourism projects in Mexico: the Wellmedic Health Center in Mayakoba and the NewCity Medical Center in Tijuana. Both projects involve hospital and hotel infrastructure.

We would like to improve our training, do more research and keep learning from the healthcare sector to move past the design part of the project. We like to share our knowledge and could do so through courses in other states aside from Monterrey and Mexico City where we already have held a couple of courses. 


ARQmedyca is an architecture firm specialized in projects for the development, construction and remodeling of hospitals and clinics. It provides services such as design, architectural planning and management for the health sector

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst