Conceptual graphics show a possible layout for a small- to medium-sized RD-HUB.
Graphic courtesy of ACHA
In 2022, the Veterans Administration (VA) Office of Construction and Facilities Management recruited six certificants from the American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) to partner in developing strategies to help solve some of the VA’s most pressing veteran care issues. The task force found that despite being the nation’s largest integrated health care provider serving more than 9 million patients annually, the VA faces the same barriers to ensuring convenient and reliable care access as its non-military peers.
The task force devised a conceptual solution that combines high-touch and high-tech capabilities to enable the VA to meet each patient in the place and manner in which they prefer to receive care.
Clyde “Ted” Moore III, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C, 2023 ACHA president, says the task force was guided by four questions: What will improve access to care for VA patients? How will health care be delivered in the future for VA patients? How can care be made more equitable for all VA patients? What kinds of spaces or facilities will be needed to accommodate this new paradigm?
One solution to those questions is called the Rapid Deployment Health Utility Base (RD-HUB), and represents a possible prototype that visualizes a modular solution created from a “kit of parts,” used individually or joined together to form a larger hub for health care services.
The RD-HUB’s “parts” emphasize telehealth, home care and mobile care. For instance, a vehicle depot serves as a deployment hub where vehicles — ranging from mobile care vans to delivery drones — are staffed, stored, charged, stocked and serviced. With 21% of veterans and active service personnel reporting in 2021 that they have never used VA care services due to inconvenient care locations, this strategy can help to decrease that number.
Another RD-HUB component is the technology shop for providing devices such as tablets and wearables to help enable remote care monitoring, at-home care and telehealth. Examples of other parts that could be featured in a hub include a durable medical equipment distribution site; a resiliency center for disaster preparedness; and staff quarters in rural, hard-to-hire areas.
The hubs are envisioned as easy-to-deploy, scalable solutions that can be configured and reconfigured with changing needs. It could be located in a remote area as a stand-alone center or partnered with existing VA facilities like a community-based outpatient center.
Professionals can visit healtharchitects.org/va-task-force-2023-report to download the report and learn more.