ERDMAN E-News – Trends in Urgent Care and Clinical Spaces



The Innovative Potential Of Venture-Backed Primary Care
Health Affairs Blog, May 16, 2016


Primary care in the United States is in need of a makeover, particularly as we undergo a transition to managing health of patient populations. Access and coordination need to be improved in order to improve population outcomes. Because a gap in these areas exists, for-profit ventures have stepped in with innovative care models. Capital funding may help speed innovation by providing comprehensive and individualized care, by using new reimbursement models and incentivizing population-level healthcare, and by encouraging rapid growth.

Improving the patient experience helps differentiate these ventures in their markets and they are using reimbursement structures and offerings that do not seek to work with all payors and patients, but rather specific groups to realize the greatest value. Investors remain attracted to these ventures and are helping to fund them to fulfill their rapid growth potential, with Iora Health and One Medical Group as examples of success in achieving national-level expansion. Health systems will want to take note, perhaps in addition to looking at relationships with these new primary care businesses.

Current Design Trends in Urgent Care and Clinical Spaces
ERDMAN, May 2016


Lobby Area – Lobbies  are less clinical and designed to have a more welcoming and soothing presence. The registration or check-in area is often more private so patients don’t have to discuss a personal health need in front of others. There might be kiosk, tablet or mobile check-in, so technology is integrated into the front office to streamline processes and create a first impression of state-of-the-art care.

On-Stage/Off-Stage – On-stage/Off-stage design, including the use of dual-sided exam rooms, is a trend that is here to stay.  Patient circulation in these models is separate from staff and provider traffic and care team workspaces.  Since the care team’s work area is kept behind-the-scenes, patients aren’t walking through staff activities or discussion about their patients.

Collaborative Care Teams – The collaborative model with a centralized care team is a significant departure and a positive change in the delivery of health care. The design breaks down physical walls and traditional silos. It also encourages both planned and unplanned interactions, similar to environments found in the high-tech industry. A care team working and thinking together places more mindshare on patient needs and creates efficiencies to run more patients a day. The centralization also enables the physician to quarterback and align the team and harness everyone’s strengths.

Flexible/modularity – Designs are increasingly flexible to adapt to future needs. For example, rooms(exam & non-medical spaces) might be built to the same size and specification, including the ability to handle technology and equipment. This affords opportunity to adjust without costly facility improvement. In older designs, a medical room had an exam table, two chairs, and could not easily be modified for a different use.

Technology – Technology used to be reserved for higher acute settings. Now, digital capabilities are increasingly commonplace. Examples include electronic records, check-in/check-out, and care teams increasingly using mobile devices. Today, a physician or nurse practitioner can easily review medical records in the exam room or within a conference room. Rooms might be outfitted with a printer so a physician visit and discharge can be completed in one place. Eliminating a separate check-out area, possibly saving 100 square feet or more of space.

Blending of interior and exterior – Aesthetically, some facilities merge inside and outside space to incorporate the natural world (e.g. natural use of stone or glass). Additionally, pedestrians and passerby’s can get a glimpse in and sense of how inviting the environment will be. This is also another way to attract and lure more patients in the door.


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