The healthcare industry is creating new experiences and interactions between patients, caregivers, and technologies that will enable healthcare institutions to pursue design strategies that merge virtual and in-person care delivery. The use of data to track the performance of new delivery models will be key to evaluating their effects on local communities. The industry’s most salient long-term challenge will be to successfully deliver care to communities as extreme weather events become more frequent.
Healthcare providers, from academic medical centers to primary care providers, will further prioritize consumer access to care in the coming years. The increasing capabilities and operational simplicity of clinical technologies allow formerly complex procedures, such as hip replacements, to be delivered in outpatient healthcare settings. The resulting healthcare real estate trend will be to migrate clinical services, to the greatest extent possible, from hospitals to primary- and secondary-service areas in local communities.
Healthcare providers across the U.S. and around the world are already seeing their ability to provide care impacted by major climate events. Sustainable real estate strategies will protect investments in health systems, reduce risk, and empower providers to support their communities in the immediate aftermath of such events. Such strategies will also reduce the healthcare industry’s notoriously high energy usage and help address the climate crisis at its root cause.
The experiences of staff and patients are equally important, and healthcare providers are demanding data-driven real estate solutions that cater to both groups. On the provider side, investing in the wellness of workers will help address retention challenges, especially among nursing staff. On the consumer side, providers will need to offer more convenient and comprehensive care, so they don’t lose market share to other organizations.
Telehealth is here to stay, but in-person interactions will define the industry’s future.
Adoption of telehealth spiked during the pandemic’s early stages, then plateaued. Though telehealth will continue to play a significant role for some forms of care, such as psychiatry, in-person interactions that require access to specialized technology will continue to comprise the overwhelming majority of healthcare interactions.
The lines between physical and digital healthcare delivery will continue to blur, requiring flexible spaces.
Physical, in-person care delivery will continue to integrate with platforms designed for virtual consumer engagement and telemedicine. But this integration will be uneven over time, because healthcare technologies will emerge in a piecemeal fashion, meeting some needs before others. The design of healthcare facilities will therefore require planning that provides flexibility, enabling them to confidently build spaces and networks to support care teams and local communities well into the future.
“Digital-first hospitals and clinics will learn from retail and hospitality to create more seamless, personalized digital patient experiences — both remotely and in person.”
—“Digital Transformation of Healthcare Design,” Dialogue blog