Fundamental Change in Care Model Drives Healthcare Design
Kurt Young

With the formal adoption of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, health systems, care providers, and patients entered a complex new world of providing and receiving health-related services. As traditional care and payment models have come under fire, healthcare systems have been left to evaluate new business strategies, implement drastic measures to reduce costs, increase quality in a new era of transparency, and increase patient volumes in order to remain profitable.

Some of the chief strategies include:

  • significantly increasing points of access in the community,
  • pushing non-acute care services into ambulatory settings,
  • providing clinics and retail facilities to provide low-acuity care,
  • creating strategic partnerships and acquisitions,
  • increasing focus on proactive management of health and wellness,
  • and balancing real estate portfolios to provide robust and comprehensive caregiving, reasonable capital investment, ongoing cash flow, and impactful community footprint.

The impact of these sweeping changes on the segment of the design and construction industry focused on the healthcare market has been significant. In lieu of the traditional model of creating major destination hospitals containing a ‘one-stop-shop’ of services, providers have been forced to bring new care models to the market. Designers and builders will continue to adjust their market offerings to adapt to an entirely new set of needs facing healthcare administrators in the emerging market, requiring a more intimate understanding of the owner’s business model. Design and construction services will also continue evolving to guide the owner to smarter long-term investments, creative supply chain strategies, adaptive reuse of existing facilities, and critical evaluations of all portfolio assets.

Kurt Young / P.E., LEED AP
Kurt is a Principal and the Healthcare Market Leader with Walter P Moore’s Structures group in Houston, Texas.