The healthcare world has changed over the last few years, and how patients get healthcare has also changed. We’re seeing an increase in flexible healthcare facilities located in unusual places. These include urgent care centers in old restaurant buildings, clinics located in malls, and maybe the most significant change – the rise of the micro-hospital.
The hospital of old was a towering building with hundreds of beds. Today, we’re seeing a rise in buildings that may only contain eight to fifteen beds and fit into a two-to-three-story building. This makes building a health care facility a much smaller investment and offers greater access and flexibility. Here are some of the trends in the growing field of micro-hospitals.
System Adoption and Integration
One of the big advantages of the micro-hospital system is that these facilities are able to specialize and direct patients to a hospital that offers carefully curated care – where the doctors don’t have to split their attention between hundreds of patients with vastly different needs.
But to make sure everyone gets where they need to be, these hospitals require greater cooperation between facilities. The best way to run a micro-hospital is essentially through a spoke-and-hub system – where a larger network is connected through technology and able to manage its resources effectively.
The most effective way to manage this is through electronic healthcare records or EHR. What is EHR you ask? These systems are part of a digital record that holds critical information for each patient. This will include past diagnoses and test results, any allergies, and any other relevant information for the next doctor to treat them.
Ideally, an effective EHR system should include 24/7 access from the cloud and software that provides access to patient scheduling and billing. That way, transferring a patient from one hospital to a specialized micro-hospital immediately catches the new facility up to speed.
The world of hospitals is getting more and more complicated as the facilities adapt to new surgery techniques and areas of specialized care. In the past, this often meant specially-trained surgeons would shuffle around from one hospital to another when they were needed.
However, today patients are asking for more stability, and micro-hospitals that specialize in areas of care are making that possible. A micro-hospital handling a specific surgery can cover a much larger area, rather than the doctor needing to commute and set up their tools every time a patient comes in.
With access to EHR files for each patient, micro-hospitals are better able to focus on specialized care. There’s no longer a need to do an intake for each patient and waste time on preliminary tests and exams. That can be done by the primary care physician or an all-purpose hospital, and the micro-hospital gets the files within minutes and can spring into action.
As the functions of micro-hospitals change, the small facility is able to adapt to different patient needs. A smaller hospital with a leaner staff will be able to switch things up much faster than a massive facility.
Large hospitals typically function on a staff of thousands, including doctors, nurses, mental health teams, cooks, and janitorial staff. Retraining an entire staff on that scale can take months and delay key reforms.
That’s why micro-hospitals are designed to operate on a lean and efficient staffing model, with each staff member having a specialty and being used to the maximum ability of their license. This makes training each staff member individually much more possible, and the hospital can swap people in and bring them up to speed when the hospital needs to switch functions.
The smaller staff numbers correspond to the smaller number of patient beds. With a fixed number of patients at any given time, likely all there for the same treatment or surgery, it’s much easier for the staff to keep tabs on patient recovery and spend more time at the bedside.
The patient receives personalized attention from intake to discharge, which increases the odds of a better and faster recovery. Any potential pitfalls are likely to be discovered earlier thanks to EHR access, and side effects or complications can be caught and resolved without the patient having to return after being discharged.
Why are micro-hospitals gaining in popularity? A big reason is that more Americans are seeking healthcare than ever, and they want the process to become more personal rather than more standardized. These smaller facilities create a smoother, more individual experience with better outcomes for patients.