It would be an understatement to say that the health care industry will not continue to undergo a transformation over the next few years.
Both economic and governmental interventions have not made it easy on many facilities to deliver optimal services with diminishing cash flow. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act only raised the stakes, thus shifting the focus from thinking about reform to demanding it.
If we lived in a perfect world, those controlling the outcome would spend their time designing a better means of care to patients, regardless of the cost and manpower; thus placing the patient first when considering design-service-development procedures. But we don't like in a perfect world. Health care organizations are being forced to find new ways to cut costs, improve efficiencies, but at the same time reallocate critical and expensive resources to achieve optimal patient care. Realigning priorities is a difficult task; choosing the right strategies is not easy. And having enough insight to make the correct decisions that will sustain and transform health care takes an analysis that may not be in-house. With more than 32 million new patients coming into the U.S. health care system based on forced governmental reform, health care organizations will need as much agility as they can get. What will it take to make that final leap in Health Care Patient Services?
Certainly doing business as usual will not make it happen; believing that if we continue to move in the direction set before, we will eventually get there. Albert Einstein suggests: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results."
You will need to take some very bold steps to break the mold from where we have been to where we need to go. A rethinking of the Health Care Business Model is required and to do that, it will mean that many mind-sets will need to be changed in the fields of: Architecture, Supply Chain Management, Procurement, and most important Physician run facilities. Each group has their own specific interest; most being control, but over and above that power is income. If you have control you have the mean of convicting other groups that you know what you are talking about and deserve the funds requested to execute the work tasks at hand. True sustainability must go beyond guidelines now recommended by Lean and Green advocates when developing a Strategic Master Planning. Considerations to develop and accommodate departmental location, deliverables (process flow), and management of waste must be part of the overall design methodology if any facility is to survive.
Since trends towards outpatient care and wellness venues are expected to continue, all the more reason to consider the need to fully develop an executable plan that takes into consideration: integration of material-traffic-flow in addition to facility aesthetics. Management cannot continue to do-what-we-have-always-done, for that will not change the outcome. If we leave true change to the lawyers and politicians to fix, the solution will look like it was made by lawyers and politicians and it is highly likely that we won't like it.
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