2017 Top Trends in Healthcare: Making Waves in Patient Care

At this month’s SMPS luncheon, our esteemed group of panelists educated us about the major changes in healthcare: Cheryle Powell, VP of Rocky Mountain Commercial Advisors LLC; Paul Kramer, Healthcare Project Director with NVS; Jake Dinnen with NexCore; Lindsley Whitley with Percival Health Advisors; and Stuart Thomas with Cushman Wakefield.

Healthcare is constantly changing from a legislative perspective and large cultural trends have a huge impact on the industry overall as well. There are differences between working with healthcare systems in both the local and national levels. There is a huge shift in quality standards and ensuring patient retention. There have also been recent shifts in where healthcare providers are moving in order to meet the demands of their clients.

Since the adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), people are scrambling to find the lowest cost of care and the closest access. Healthcare corporations and providers responded by creating more free-standing Emergency Rooms/Urgent Care Centers spread throughout the Denver Metro Area. Companies are also now focusing on how they can make their main campuses more patient focused and are coming up with renovation plans. New quality scores revolve around the patient experience. Healthcare strategic planning now revolves around sticking to the quality metrics. Companies are responding by making their locations more retail friendly with more upgrades and parking. These new design trends have to do with past performance and cash position. They want to keep as much cash as possible – it’s their safety net.

Visibility is key. Overall private practice revenues are down so strategic planning around stronger visibility is another big focus. Companies need to ask themselves where are the patients? Where do we need to be? They are focusing on the data and need to be close to where the people are going. There are many more micro hospitals popping up rather than more specialized campuses.

Healthcare, just like every other major industry, is definitely being impacted by social technology. Patients are reviewing their healthcare facilities online. Technology allows more press whether it’s good or bad and healthcare companies and providers are trying to stay ahead of the curve.

Technology is also being integrated directly into the patient-staff experiences. Apps and/or tech platforms are being used to speed up the check in process. The doctors want to be able to spend as much time with the patients as possible. This is a definite factor that must be considered when maximizing design. By making operational models that create the patients’ experience before they even walk through the door, ensuring all patients are put into a room as quickly as possible. All of these elements are thought of and evaluated before the build process even begins.

Rural healthcare systems are also evolving. They are continuously trying to grow their physician base. Many rural alliances have been formed, combining ways to cut costs and work together. National Partnerships have also been formed where they partner with rural facilities. The large national brands provide telemedicine platform services for the rural facilities so they can receive referrals. The telemedicine also allows the rural facilities to consult with larger, urban centers to help aid in their patients’ care.

In terms of healthcare development, one of the biggest issues is that reimbursement is down and cost is a huge factor. Energy efficiency is also a huge component. The investment climate is so competitive and funding is coming from many different sources. Cost-analysis is the most important factor for third-party investors. The timeline for an investment depends on the asset: location, lease type, etc. Investors need a singular point of contact throughout the process, which keeps relationships close. There should be a liaison between the investors, project managers, designers, architects, etc. the entire time. Investors are focusing on their long-term goals when deciding to fund a project.

Changing legislation is always going to be an issue in regards to funding. There is a ton of money right now. Many projects have gone through the master planning process but implementation is being put on hold for a few years. Investors need to be willing to put up the capital right now even with the uncertainty of what congress decides and plan accordingly.

Nationwide design trends are focusing on the acute care side and enhancing the patient experience: how quickly can the patient get to the service and get scene by a doctor. On the outpatient side, the focus is on IT collaboration through design: patient centers, more retail-centric, and advertising. It’s a home away from home bringing in elements of nature: fireplaces, outdoor spaces, and walking gardens.

Throughout the design and development process, it is important to bring in both local and national teams since they have different perspectives and value add. Teams nationwide are always looking for the hottest new trend that is revolutionary and outside the box. National firms are always striving to work with local firms to ensure that the money is staying within the communities being served.

Like every industry, healthcare is all about creating relationships. Having contacts at both the local and higher system levels is most important. Relationships between urban and rural systems are mutually beneficial for both when done correctly. Know who the ultimate decision makers are in advance.

By combining forces and strategies used at both the local and national level, and in rural and urban settings, creates the best experience for the patients and healthcare providers.

This event was brought to you by the Programs Committee.

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Write up by Debbie Reece, CMP