Construction collage showing various stages of construction

The transformation of the health care industry to a more sustainable model is also transforming the health care facility landscape by encouraging renovations to existing structures. While LEED may increasingly be seen as an unnecessary expense, energy efficiency and other green initiatives that produce operational savings will continue to be highly valued. (Image credit: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo)

Hospitals will become smaller and more nimble in the coming years and their technology infrastructure will require increasing investment, according to a recent study by DPR Construction, a national general contractor and construction manager specializing in technically complex and sustainable projects for the advanced technology/mission critical, life sciences, healthcare, higher education and corporate office markets.

Perhaps most surprising, coming from this year-long intensive study run by an independent firm that included more than 40 health leaders,the renovation and reuse of buildings will increase. Big spends will decrease as capital diminishes and patient care shifts to include a heavier focus on wellness. Also, new procedures that are less invasive, and research advancements will reduce the need for hospitalizations. To meet the needs of growing numbers of elderly, and people who have insurance, new types of facilities will have to be built. Medical homes, facilities for accountable care organizations and outpatient clinics will be on the vanguard of radical change in the health care facility landscape.

With limited access to capital, many study participants noted that fewer new projects will be built and renovations will rise, largely driven by the need to meet patient satisfaction standards over the long-term. At the same time, better technology will drive overall innovation in technical construction – meaning buildings of the future will be adaptable, both in terms of patient needs and technology.

“As health technologies become more sophisticated and simultaneously require less physical space, server and data center support needs will increase,” said Hamilton Espinosa, DPR’s National Healthcare Group Leader. “Future building will need to accommodate these trends, with increased emphasis around design and system integration to save on costs.”

Building information modeling and integrated project delivery are becoming cornerstones in the effort to deliver better medical buildings at lower cost. Not surprisingly there is also an increased emphasis on transparency and holding everyone accountable.

The study concluded that medical systems are changing, regardless of health care reform, because the way medicine has been practiced is not fiscally sustainable. That points to what the study calls “transformative changes” happening in just the next 10 years.



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