Managed care, mergers and the emphasis on wellness will continue to affect the design and construction of healthcare facilities. These forces will call for more acute-care beds in some facilities and renovations to accommodate conversions of some acute-care segments into other departments. Overall, there will be an increase in master construction plans in 1997 because of the many acquisitions and consolidations.
Some 42% of the respondents to the 1996 MODERN HEALTHCARE*Design and Construction Survey predicted managed care will force clients to reduce construction costs. In efforts to save money, many departments will consolidate, resulting in the revision of master plans.
As hospitals tackle these new projects, they are likely to turn more often to full-service development companies rather than contracting with an array of architects, construction managers and other firms. Developers such as Cousins/Richmond in Atlanta-commonly known as off-balance-sheet providers-can meet a range of real estate needs, including site selection, leasing arrangements, property management and even financing.
Competition and marketing also are factors. Hospitals will continue to build attractive lobbies, homelike inpatient rooms, garages and other facilities aimed at enticing the customer.
The design and construction industry will have other important challenges to contend with: an aging population and the continuum of care it requires. Assisted-living facilities and modernized nursing homes will be on the rise. And hospital campuses likely will add more long-term-care facilities and retirement villages.