How Consumer-Driven Healthcare Is Transforming Real Estate
Hospitals are moving healthcare delivery into community settings to make care more cost-effective and accommodate the millions of new patients added to the system by the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, high-deductible health plans are making healthcare more consumer-directed, with patients shopping around for the best care, at the best price. To meet these needs hospitals are creating new off-campus treatment facilities in convenient community settings.
Tangram Interiors CFO Nick Greenko, who moderated the Construction & Design panel at Bisnow’s 5th Annual Healthcare Forum yesterday, asked the panel how changes in healthcare are affecting design and construction of facilities, and what's the biggest challenges in creating consumer-oriented healthcare settings.
Managing director of Gensler's Health & Wellness Practice architect Barbara Bouza (snapped here with Lionakis principal Scott Mackey) said healthcare today is “all about the patient experience: treating patients like guests and making them comfortable." This means designing facility interiors with high-quality amenities, like heated massage chairs, and to simplify the process, she says, noting that traditionally a patient visit has involved a complex process that has patients making eight or nine stops before leaving the facility.
DPR Construction project executive Lucy Villanueva (pictured at left with Barbara Bouza) said the two biggest challenges hospitals face in building new facilities are funding and location. While funding is an issue in securing the best location, she stresses the need for hospitals to think strategically when locating facilities to attract both physicians and patients. “The location has to be blended into the community, make you feel welcome, ” Lucy said, explaining that one approach is to integrate healthcare into convenient locations that people frequent, like a grocery store.
Scott (right with with event attendee Jean-Guy Poitras, whose company designs and plans healthcare facilities) said healthcare today has to be where people are, so healthcare systems need to figure out how to leverage their resources in a structured way to do that.
SmithGroupJJR VP Bonnie Khang-Keating (here with Scott) said that designers need to solve two facility convenience issues that generate the most complaints: parking and wayfinding within facilities. “We need to focus on making these two components simpler for patients and their families," she noted. Bonnie also pointed out that healthcare today is mobile—it can go anywhere people are, even airports.