What is a Microhospital?

Article Commentary Written by: John Cobb, Managing Director Global Healthcare Services

Microhospitals are seeing continued attention from hospital operators wanting to increase patients’ convenience, stretch capital expenditures, reduce treatment costs, avoid site neutrality reimbursement cuts, and more. But what really comprises a microhospital, and what are the trends in this space? A few of the things that generally define a microhospital are size (10K-60KSF), service offerings (full ED, labs and diagnostics), hours (24x7), acuity range (low), and bed count (8-15). Trend-wise, they’re growing – at the end of 2016, at least 50 were operating in the US and some anticipate this number to grow as high as 250.

In a great follow-up to our January “Microhospitals and Emerging Service Lines” article, Building Design & Construction magazine this month tackled the question from a more technical perspective. Design trends, integration strategies, staffing approaches, and even some of the systems employing them are covered. (Article Below)

Microhospitals: Healthcare's Newest Patient Access Point

Building Design + Construction | John Caulfield, Senior Editor

Last September, The Hospitals of Providence, a leading healthcare provider in El Paso, Texas, broke ground for a new medical campus on 10 acres in suburban Horizon City, 20 miles east of El Paso. There they will build a 40,000-sf “microhospital” to house an emergency department, a laboratory, imaging services, and 10 to 12 inpatient beds. The campus will also have 50,000 sf of office space for physicians and staff.

Microhospitals are acute care facilities that are smaller than the typical acute care hospital. They leave complex surgeries to the big guys, but are larger and provide more comprehensive services than the typical urgent care or outpatient center. They range in size from 10,000 sf to 60,000 sf.

Microhospitals offer the full services of a hospital emergency department and have labs that provide rapid clinical diagnostics and x-ray, CT, and ultrasound imaging. According to healthcare consultant Advisory Board, microhospitals can meet up to 90% of the healthcare needs of the communities they serve. And they never close.

Like urgi-centers and outpatient clinics, microhospitals generally treat patients with low-acuity medical problems. Unlike urgent care and outpatient facilities, they have inpatient beds (typically anywhere from eight to 15) and can support overnight observation of patients who require low-acuity hospital services.

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Photo: Courtesy The Hospitals of Providence.

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