South Florida Hospital News
Friday December 6, 2019
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December 2011 - Volume 8 - Issue 6

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The Future of Healthcare - Doing More with Less: Less Funding Requires More Careful Planning of Medical Facilities

Whether or not President Obama’s healthcare reform passes the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, the handwriting is on the wall regarding future drops in reimbursements received by hospitals. Add to that the tremendous outlay of dollars necessary to upgrade IT systems for changes in medical records and medical technology, it becomes apparent that there will be less monies available for capital expenditures.
 
Advances in medicine, medical equipment, and technology offer hospitals the opportunity to decentralize their services and bring improved medical services out into the community, situated in buildings that are less expensive to build out than hospitals themselves. The planning and management of off campus facilities are critical since it is imperative that patient care does not become fragmented as a result of decentralization. It is also important that the priority and quality of patient care from the medical campus continues into these outpatient centers of medical treatment.
 
Access and entrances need to be clearly defined and signed. The welcoming experience of entering the main hospital must be translated and executed into these smaller patient facilities. The quality of design and the use of natural light should be expanded into the neighborhood medical facilities as well.
 
For those of us in the design and construction industries, we need to demonstrate to the medical community that we are cognizant of their needs, well versed on the alternatives and solutions, and eager to partner in the planning aspects of any development and growth. The economic situation is the key issue giving owners heartburn when planning for capital expenditures. However, the underlying reasons for improved facilities have not changed, so a portion of the planned work must move forward.
 
Existing buildings continue to age and infrastructure constantly needs improvement. In the not too distant future, certain thresholds will be reached where older facilities can no longer be improved; they must be replaced. The change to private patient rooms is still a goal that is yet to be achieved. Project planning, construction planning and fiscal planning will determine the viability of all future projects. Every new room, medical device and computer will require consideration as to the space needs for patient care, the flow of service to optimize the patient experience and efficiency of service, and the return on investment of the project.
 
The professional service industry is here to participate and partner in the successful development of medical projects in the future.
 
 
For more information, contact Charles A. Michelson, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Saltz Michelson Architects, at (954) 266-2700 or cmichelson@saltzmichelson.com or visit www.saltzmichelson.com.
 
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