As healthcare providers work toward planning our community’s healthcare future, what are the necessary transitions and innovations that will influence future facilities in providing healthcare and well care to our community?

Every few years, healthcare providers look inward and take inventory to prepare their vision to serve the community for the full spectrum of their healthcare needs – and to become a truly integrated healthcare network. One of the new (and dramatically changing) components in the planning and design of healthcare facilities will be in the integration of technology into our physical plant building designs. Advances in technology that will update the design of our medical facilities include:
Telemedicine – The ability to provide medical information from where people live in the community to the healthcare provider. Not a substitute for the relationship between a medical provider and their patients, it can provide additional medical feedback and interaction in smaller community dispersed locations.
Artificial intelligence – This will not replace the physician-patient relationship, but the power of statistics can provide direction to physicians in treating their patients. Again, this information need not be analyzed in expensive hospital physical plant settings. There are some statistics which indicate that the amount of medical knowledge doubles every 73 days. The ultimate benefit of the synthesis of this information is better treatment.
Health tracking – This ability will allow patients to be more informed participants in their medical care and to participate in the decision making process alongside their healthcare providers.
Robotics – This advancement will allow less invasive treatment to patients by minimizing hospital stays. It will also allow rehab patients to have better devices to replace lost limbs and lost abilities. Sight, hearing, and touch are some of the senses which can be enhanced through this technology.
The labs and pharmacies constructed in today’s hospital will include the equipment, sophistication, and ability to use nanotechnology to bring advances in drug and therapy targeted delivery and diagnosis.
And finally, Virtual Reality. Virtual reality has had an impact in many professions, such as architecture. Building upon that we can create virtual reality rooms for technicians and physicians to experience technological space design, such as ORs or USP pharmacies, and work through the computerized creation to refine movement efficiencies through truly interactive design activity.
Along with developing systemwide clinical process improvements, what will be the technical improvements to medicine that allow us to improve, personalize and increase the human dimension and provide improved medical care to the families within modern facilities – closer to where they live? By virtue of this, do our facilities need to be as large or intricate as they have been in the past? I think not necessarily so. They will become smaller, more efficient medical facilities.