The Transformation of Outpatient Healthcare Design


Hospitals across the country are moving into uncharted territory as healthcare delivery in the U.S. is being reinvented. Hospitals and patients have been affected by the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare reform that rolled out nationwide in 2012. Hospitals are now faced with shrinking reimbursements and patients are seeing high deductibles. Couple this with the rise in chronic conditions, which typically do not require overnight stays, but are based on long-term treatments, and we see a trend of empty patient beds, creating lower occupancy in many hospitals.
These higher costs and low occupancy rates have forced healthcare facilities to rethink how healthcare is delivered in their community. While it has also forced patients to look at alternatives to hospital based treatment that are cost-effective, convenient and meet their lifestyle needs.

People today are increasingly exposed to a buffet of alternative services and products for almost every need. Couple this with the fact that people now have access to better quality healthcare information at their fingertips in which to make informed decisions, and you have a highly-educated and value conscious consumer base.
Now healthcare providers are listening to the needs of their patients and moving their services closer to where their patients live and work. This means a shift away from the “big box” hospital, to community-based ambulatory clinics and services in retail and home health settings. This becomes a more cost-effective and flexible solution as healthcare costs continue to rise for healthcare provider.

Healthcare facilities are now looking to retail and hospitality design to give their facilities a fresh look that caters to the new lifestyle design trend that is sweeping the nation. To address this new demand, many healthcare centers are moving closer to the patient’s home, in a neighborhood retail community center making it easier for patient access. Healthcare centers are also updating their interior design, with emphasis on better lighting and fresh interior design elements and furnishings. Patients want a more relaxed “spa like” experience to soothe and calm the patient while they wait.

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