The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in dramatic changes to the provision of healthcare. From surge planning to addressing patient anxieties to upgrading telemedicine capabilities, health providers are reshaping medical environments to suit the requirements and expectations of “the new normal” and ensure that they’re prepared for future health crises.
Here’s what we expect to see in post-pandemic medical offices.
Improved Patient Flow Models
Patients are anxious regarding safety in enclosed environments. To manage these anxieties and protect both staff and patients, medical environments must introduce patient flow measures that allow people to maintain social distancing and minimize face-to-face interaction with others.
- Virtual check-ins
- Reduced use of waiting rooms
- Efficient pathways through the clinic
- Single-direction flow designs for entrances, elevators, and high-traffic areas
- Layouts that allow for social distancing
- Virtual payments
A Move Towards the Digital
The future of healthcare is digital, but we’re currently in a transition period. During this time, healthcare providers should be reworking their environments to tap into patients’ increasing confidence with digital health products while also aligning with present-day expectations regarding what care should look like.
Design options to consider during this transitional time include:
- Front door or parking lot screening spaces
- Phone- or kiosk-based registration
- Larger yet lower density waiting rooms
- Paperless documents and materials
- Touch-free or post-visit payment options
Flexible, More Spacious Designs
The design of healthcare spaces themselves will need to be reimagined to accommodate increases in the use of telehealth technologies and patients’ need to feel safe and comfortable.
Likely long-term trends include:
- Increased average building footprint due to single direction flows and social distancing needs
- Flexible floor designs allowing for easy reconfiguration depending on the uptake of telehealth
- Modular clinic design that will allow providers to move in and out with minimal renovations
- More in-patient options made possible by access to specialists via telehealth
- State-of-the-art connectivity to allow for seamless telehealth provision
What These Changes Mean for Healthcare Providers
Even with the shift towards virtual care and digital self-service, in-patient and specialized healthcare spaces will remain vital in the healthcare ecosystem. This is especially true for those that are close to larger clinics or hospitals. However, the growth of telehealth and increased expectations regarding social distancing mean that healthcare providers will need a larger space to service fewer patients. This may translate to higher square footage costs unless elements such as location, design, and service provision value are effectively managed, which is where strategic input from a medical real estate expert can be invaluable
At Gittleson Zuppas, we specialize in matching medical practitioners with appropriate, high-ROI healthcare environments. With decades of experience in medical real estate, we have deep knowledge of building stock, healthcare trends, and the factors that will make a space an excellent investment for your organization. Whether you’re seeking to lease, buy or sell a medical building, we can help ensure that it happens in a way that makes sense to your bottom line.