In your opinion, which technological developments will have the greatest impact on the industry?
As healthcare delivery grows at an unprecedented pace, medical technology industries are growing at a healthy 16-18 percent Year-on-Year, and certain sectors like cardiology even grow at a very high rate of 35-40 percent.
Besides the advancements in medical technology, the growth in this industry is also due to the growth of the delivery industry.
With technological advancement, the adoption curve for new technologies has shortened. The advantages of these advancements can be seen in smoother workflow, greater ROI, and hospitals treating more patients in a shorter period.
Our healthcare industry is currently facing such a challenging business environment. Yet, the tension between increasing expenditures and narrowing profitability only tells part of the story. Healthcare is undergoing a range of transformations that can be explained by a deeper dive into the industry.
This article discusses six key drivers of healthcare transformation and how spatial responses improve both bottom lines and patient experiences.
Here are the 6 key drivers of healthcare transformation:
1. The staffing process
It has been well documented that the healthcare industry is expected to face staffing shortages. It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by 2025 according to some of the more dire predictions. There is a shortage of mathematicians, but some argue it is exaggerated, including mathematician Linda Green.
It is expected that the unprecedented demand for healthcare will accelerate the transition from a doctor’s office model to a central, team-based model of care if the shortage predictions are accurate. Facilities planning will have to be efficient as a result. Provider teams must be able to see more patients in less time without compromising on quality of care. These facilities need to increase the proximity between care team zones and patient spaces, as well as the ratio of exam rooms to providers, in order to become more efficient. According to current best practices, each provider should have 2.5 exam rooms. According to projections, the number of exam rooms per provider will eventually reach five.
It is apparent that patient acuity-an indicator of the intensity of nursing care required-is on the rise while the number of inpatient beds is declining.
Patients with moderate to severe health conditions are living decades longer due to the increase in acuity. It is possible, however, to mitigate some of the effects of aging in facilities geared towards geriatric care through the use of design. The contrast between planes produced by some materials and colors can counteract the effects of weakened vision, for example.
Mental health beds are in greater demand than medical-surgical beds, despite a decline in medical-surgical bed counts. Patients’ privacy must be balanced with their safety when designing for acute mental and behavioral health conditions. The design of mental-health spaces is not solely driven by safety and durability. A more approachable and soothing design sensibility has replaced the institutional aesthetics of yesteryear.
3. Revenue Shift
As a result of a new emphasis on improving care and transparency, reimbursements are becoming more and more tied to both quantitative and qualitative data. It is imperative the healthcare environment step up to support better care through efficiencies, flow, and aesthetics. Rating systems are making headlines, and revenues are dependent on quality measures.
In the retail and hospitality industries, a well-crafted guest experience has long been recognized for its power. An approach similar to this is just beginning to be adopted by the healthcare industry. This new emphasis includes experience mapping. In order to be successful, it must take physical movement into account as well as emotional journeys. The first step in creating a great user experience is to figure out what the user wants.
There can be a lot of complexity in healthcare facilities. Healthcare facilities are becoming mazes of corridors as additions pile up over the years and growth spreads to other buildings. By providing intuitive apps that guide visitors and put patients at ease, technology can help them navigate these complex places and reduce the number of missed appointments.
Regulatory and safety gray areas emerge as healthcare extends beyond the hospital before codes catch up, causing controversy and alerting regulating bodies. More than 23 million outpatient surgeries are performed each year at ambulatory service centers. A major driving force behind the growth of ambulatory care centers is the ability to provide one-stop shopping for healthcare. Ambulatory centers must be highly tailored environments, from the shape of the building to the size of the elevator cabs and the distance between columns. The basic office building will not meet the needs of ambulatory centers.
Healthcare institutions must take ongoing changes in code into consideration given lingering regulatory questions. Adapting to new codes and accommodating new treatment options requires flexibility in healthcare design.
5. Patients as Consumers
The patient is now a conscious consumer who is looking for service over status. In response, the urgent care center in the corner store has become the new symbol of patient consumerism. There are roughly 3,000 retail clinics nationwide based on this model, where convenience and accessibility trump reputation and cost. The growth of retail clinics demonstrates consumers’ desire for more options and convenience.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that convenience isn’t the only factor to consider when seeking medical care. With consumers increasingly demanding environments where quality of experience equals quality of care in an increasingly competitive and consumer-oriented healthcare industry, aesthetics will only become more important.
6. Real Estate
Multi-provider groups, public organizations, and private organizations merge and grow by acquiring health campuses. Green space on campus and clearly prioritized circulation for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation riders are crucial for success.
Technology and treatments are constantly evolving, so campus buildings must be flexible as well. When modular construction is used selectively throughout a facility or as a whole, it can result in significant cost savings and enable healthcare facilities to adjust and eliminate downtime. The healthcare sector has experienced a dramatic shift in construction techniques over the past decade, with 49 percent using modular construction.
Healthcare businesses and the places where it is delivered-will be shaped for a long time by the drivers we identified. We are witnessing a movement in our healthcare model, which is slow but perceptible. As the emphasis shifts away from treatment towards prediction and prevention, episodic care is being replaced with sustained wellness.
People expect wellness to be addressed in various ways and settings when it is the measuring stick. It is, therefore, necessary to have a broad scope of knowledge when designing for wellness, one that includes knowledge of workplaces, hospitality venues, retail settings, and urban streetscapes.
There is much speculation about what this development means for doctors’ offices, hospitals, and retail clinics today. The core purpose of healthcare is enabling well-being, which can be achieved through a system designed to prevent disease.