What do facilities need today and what will they need tomorrow to deliver the best possible patient and staff experience? What will the healthcare facility of the future look like?
The trend is decidedly toward “patient-centric” care, which means facilities must be where the patients need them to be. And they need to be designed with the patient experience in mind, not just the convenience of the care teams.
More choices must be made available to healthcare consumers. The most responsive facilities will garner the most and best business.
Healthcare facilities of the future need to accommodate the rising demand for primary care. They should provide outpatient care settings that achieve economies of scale, promote collaboration and offer “one-stop shopping.”
In addition to exam and treatment spaces, components should include space for patient education in prevention, fitness and health maintenance. Rooms for counseling services also need to be part of the mix.
Current clinic layouts underscore the problems with many facility designs. Physicians typically work in private offices, separated from the rest of the staff. As a result, face-to-face communication with co-workers is limited, which undermines collaborative care.
Exam rooms are also a problem. They tend to be small—typically about 90 square feet—with limited space for caregivers and staff. They are usually inflexible with little potential to vary their use when new care models come along.
Inefficient overall design is a another drawback of today's traditional outpatient clinic. Large waiting spaces contribute to patient delays. Effective patient flow and operational efficiencies are often an afterthought.