Welcome to the dawning of the microhospital era, and a healthcare construction environment that’s primed for growth.
In the 1970s, urgent care facilities, created as cost-effective alternatives that would unclog hospital emergency rooms, first opened their doors. There are now almost 7,400, according to the Urgent Care Association of America.
The Emergence of the Microhospital
Today, a new healthcare facility trend is spreading: the microhospital. These acute care facilities, ranging in size from 10,000 to 60,000 square feet, are – unlike urgent care facilities – in operation 24 hours a day. They hold a handful of in-patient beds (5 to 15) for short stays, possess ER, imaging and lab services, and have the ability to handle up to 90 percent of the services offered by larger acute care hospitals.
Traditional large hospital projects are returning to the drawing board with fewer large hospital projects in the works.
There were at least 50 U.S. microhospitals as the calendar turned to 2017, according to E4H, an architecture firm focused on the healthcare industry. The concept, which began in urban and suburban areas of the South, is likely to spread as health systems adapt to changing demographics, says E4H.
This shift is contributing to rising forecasts for industry construction in 2017, pushed by the significant demographics issue as well as the aging of facilities.
Healthcare facility construction is predicted to grow 7 percent in 2017, according to the Dodge Construction Outlook. FMI, a management consultant and research firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is forecasting a 4 percent growth.
“Traditional large hospital projects are returning to the drawing board with fewer large hospital projects in the works. The bulk of the work will be renovation and additions as well as outpatient care.” -- FMI U.S. Markets Construction Overview 2017
At December’s Health Care Advisory Board meeting in St. Louis, facility planners spoke on a panel about their fixed asset strategies. One said her hospital system “is using micro-hospitals to meet the current and projected need for the next five to 10 years, acknowledging that as demographics and healthcare delivery change, so too will brick and mortar needs change over time,” according to Advisory Board.
Among the other issues facility planners face are that aging physical plants are expensive to maintain and difficult to upgrade, and that non-clinical space is often overlooked in the design and build-out of facilities, despite the importance it plays in the successful running of health system operations, the panelists said.
The Connection Between Modular and Healthcare
WillScot works closely with the healthcare industry during both construction projects and eventual renovations. We also help facility planners in between those big efforts, providing quick, flexible temporary space for myriad business needs.
• Helps healthcare companies maintain uninterrupted service during renovations, providing valuable swing space – temporary space occupied by building users away from areas that are being renovated
• Serves as high-tech construction offices and storage space, allowing for seamless workflow and faster project completion
• Is flexible, empowering companies to select and shape our products based on specific needs, such as tight footprints or specific technological capabilities
• Is ready when you are. We offer quick, affordable “ready to work” solutions throughout the U.S., helping healthcare facility planners successfully negotiate uncertain or ever-changing times
Is your healthcare company planning a construction project or in need of temporary space to handle increased market demand? Are you a construction company working to build out new or improved facilities?
Talk to our modular space experts about how we can help you create the optimal future environment for America’s patients, returning them to best possible health faster and more efficiently than ever before.