Two Words…….Purposeful Design
Today’s landscape in the healthcare market is quite the contrast from years ago. The reduced reimbursements and increased patient population from the affordable care act has prompted two words to dominate the environment – “Purposeful Design”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) sets limits on the amount that can be charged in various situations and ties Medicare reimbursement levels to performance.
If an organization wants a bigger slice of market then they need to offer more beds, more operating rooms, more outpatient and ambulatory facilities and more medical office space. But to maximize profit margins, they need to keep costs to a minimum.
The way to balance the opposing goals of growth is to renovate existing facilities to be purposeful design whenever possible, and when expansion is necessary, to carry it out in ways that minimize expense and maximize the efficiency of physicians, nurses and medical staff. A better way of saying it – we have to get more out of less.
Let’s take a look at big piece of the equation – medical equipment. As the 3rd largest investment of an organization, next to staff and the operational costs of the facility, medical equipment is the focal point for discussion. Medical equipment planners no longer have the luxury of equipping at the Taj Mahal – no expense spared level – with the latest and greatest widget or gadget just to exceed the ever demanding needs of the physician or staff. We must embrace the process of providing a solution that encompasses operational efficiency.
Developing a process of “choosing by advantage” we have allowed ourselves to be the center point of ongoing discussions. Equipment selection should take into account and include the following:
- Clinical Staff – Develop and understanding of functionality needed. Facilitating these conversations to provide the product that best fits the clinical objective. No longer can you provide the Cadillac when the Kia will fit just fine.
- Biomedical Engineering – Create a working relationship that takes into account the serviceability, lifespan and the hospital standardizations while selecting equipment. If we are going to plan it…..better be sure they can support it.
- Facility Maintenance – Discuss and determine ongoing maintenance concerns and objectives. Accommodating the long term plan of the facility often times leads to more gainful life of the medical equipment.
- Supply Chain Management – Leverage the purchasing power. Whether it’s a single facility or an extensive network, utilize the power multiple vendors and bids to obtain pricing that works. Although it’s not the only criteria, pricing is still a major component.
- Design and Construction – As the design unfolds, its critical to consider utilization of equipment in process improvement. Proper work flow analysis and through-put modeling can achieve the right item for the proper situation.
- The Patient – Improving patient outcomes has been, and always will be the objective. Utilizing Patient focus groups develops a culture of understanding and engagement of the patient. The patients input are as valuable as all other components.
Integrating all parties in the decision making process not only provides a purposeful design solution that reduces costs and space, but provides an outcome that contains the “buy-in” of all.
When planning equipment for your next facility “purposeful design” is not only an option – it’s the Cripe Way.
Written By: Dale Vogel, Senior Healthcare Project Manager