As patients play a greater role in managing and paying for their care, the health care environment is shifting. As stated in a recent Hospitals & Health Networks article, "A health system's patients are people who have been treated there in the past; consumers are those who may — or may not — choose to seek care there in the future."
This shift in patient mindset could translate to having a hospital offer online access to medical records or add health technology stores where patients can test new health and wellness apps or wearable devices.
Regarding construction, the increasingly retaillike atmosphere of health care has spurred a wave of ambulatory care facility construction in major metro areas, including New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Health systems that are leading this movement and the architects who work with them report that patient convenience is one of the top factors in this trend, which is likely to continue.
"People want same-day surgeries for more minor procedures or for procedures that years ago would have required an overnight stay or longer," says Jeffrey Drucker, vice president, Northeast region, Array Architects, New York City.
That type of reasoning very well may be behind some of the numbers from the 2015 Hospital Construction Survey, in which outpatient facilities topped the list for repurposed facility projects. Joe Sprague, FAIA, FACHA, says the move toward population health also plays a role.
"With a focus on population health management, there is a tremendous move to the ambulatory side," says Sprague, principal and senior vice president at HKS, Dallas. "In years past, we hadn't paid as much attention to it in construction, but it is happening now."