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A new chapter in healthcare construction?

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Meet the start-up harnessing technology to transform the way healthcare facilities are designed, built and operated.

London start-up ATLAS is aiming to revolutionise the development of healthcare facilities through digital tech.

Its platform is designed for those healthcare operators on a mission to modernise their design, build and operational processes.

ATLAS is building an end-to-end digital platform (ICAS) which brings together design, procurement, and construction within a single software application.

It gives customers an “aggregated source of truth” for their projects, helping to streamline the entire process, and make it more cost-effective.

The platform combines AI and parametric design – an approach enabling the specification of the key parameters of projects and a model which automatically updates in response to changes.

It has multiple design options; while users can onboard their own suppliers and manufacturers, providing a link between the design and procurement/project management environments.

This gives customers “end-to-end visibility” allowing “multi-format data exchanges to take place” on a single platform.

ICAS represents a long-overdue disruption to an industry that has been notoriously slow to digitise. Such innovations are needed given the worldwide gulf between healthcare demand and available supply.

Around half of the world’s population does not have access to adequate healthcare services, with 165,000 hospitals serving nearly eight billion people. Meanwhile, the global population is growing by over one per cent annually.

To meet demand, therefore, an additional 1,650 hospitals will have to be built every year.

ATLAS co-founder and CEO David Harper recognises the pressing need for a more streamlined development of healthcare facilities.

“There is a growing backlog for adequate healthcare services around the world,” he says.

“Healthcare stakeholders simply don’t have the time to wait several years for a hospital to be designed and built.  There is a real need for smart, fast track technology platforms like ICAS, which can be used to deliver higher volumes at better value.

“Construction is a trillion-dollar market, but planning remains complicated and inaccurate. The consequences of being late or making critical mistakes tally up into the millions, yet PlanRadar estimates 90 per cent of projects are not completed on time.”

Start-ups that can help improve this figure, via tools like AI and IoT, will add significant value, Harper believes.

“We are working to change the way healthcare facilities are designed and delivered, providing better access to healthcare services while actively working towards and promoting the de-carbonisation of the largest asset class in the world.”

While all sectors are changing through digital advancement, the construction industry has found innovation and adoption of digitised business models particularly challenging.

A 2019 McKinsey index, for example, ranked construction as one of the least-digitised industries. McKinsey also estimates that 98 per cent of so-called “megaprojects” suffer cost overruns of more than 30 per cent.

Another pre-COVID report, by PlanRadar in 2019, suggested that 60 to 70 per cent of global construction firms had yet to digitise and were still working with pen and paper.

But these challenges also highlight vast economic potential linked to digitisation. In working to unlock it within healthcare construction, crucially helping to close the gap between supply and demand, innovators like ATLAS are exactly what the world needs right now.

ATLAS is backed by Oracle for Startups, an acceleration programme that enables mutually beneficial business-building partnerships for startups.

Learn more about ICAS in the video below:

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