What should the emergency ward of the future look like? 

The Objective

“The Beating Heart” project at The New University Hospital in Aarhus (DNU) was launched as a way of getting a diverse group of emergency ward healthcare personnel to express their visions for what functions the emergency ward of the future ought to include.


The focus has been on the building itself, the organisation of space internally and the functions of the ward. The project scope was to help guarantee high quality in treatment and visitation of patients, an efficient logistical flow, good service and a good working environment. At the same time, the project was intended to test new methods of involving users in development processes.


Testing a new radical method of involving users in the development process and arrived at concrete recommendations as a result of the process. Recommendations for optimising the building itself was produced, involving the architect team at The New University Hospital. The work resulted in significant changes to the plans for the emergency ward. All of the recommendations emerged from the output produced by the hospital’s own personnel.


‘At DNU, we have done more projects with Conceptmaking: one on the emergency ward of the future (The Beating Heart) and another project on the patient reception areas of the future. In both cases, professionals from different departments at Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus Hospital and Skejby Hospital participated in workshops designed to help them come up with ideas about where the different functions should be placed.

Conceptmaking has been really good at getting participants engaged and relating to participants’ day-to-day experiences.

Varied ways of working, solid preparation and infectious enthusiasm got participants engaged, and a number of departments have since reported that their participating staff members returned “home” with enthusiasm, ideas and a positive attitude about the challenges of the future.

In the Project Division, where our primary responsibility is to oversee the construction of DNU, our engagement with Conceptmaking has made us much more attentive to how we should influence the design of DNU’s organisation and clarify our requirements and expectations for how different professional groups and medical specialisations must work together.

It’s actually much less about construction than we assumed at first.’

User Coordinator Kaspar Bo Laursen and Project Manager Signe Overgaard, projektleder – Project Unit, The New University Hospital in Aarhus (DNU).