Today, it’s a “do-more-with-less” world in healthcare. It gets even more complicated with funding shortfalls. How can today’s hospitals achieve highest value from their capital improvement programs despite inevitable spending barriers? It is a dilemma.
The key is proper planning. In almost 50 years in the business, KMD has seen many mistakes when it comes to healthcare systems. Relying on decades of experience, we have identified four strategies to increase choices, confidence, and flexibility, all of which can be used separately or in combination to offer administrators more control and predictability.
Strategy 1: Think bigger picture
It is difficult to step out of the narrow confines of your perspective and see the proverbial forest for the trees. However, when it comes to healthcare capital improvements, there is much to be gained from pulling back and taking a 30,000-foot view of the entire national park.
Market studies and projections should drive long-term institutional goals. But here is the key: The system doesn’t have to go down this path alone. Strategic partnering opportunities exist in the very communities for which the system serves, opportunities that create win-win-win strategies to add value and lower costs for all the partnered entities.
One successful example is the transformation of a 1960s county-owned-and-operated hospital in El Paso, Texas, into the much larger University Medical Center (UMC) of El Paso. The hospital’s leadership and the county government came together and decided to expand and modernize the existing hospital through a county bond election.
Such community-wide resolve helped convince Texas Tech University to expand its El Paso Health Sciences Campus, establish a new four-year medical school, and announce a new school of nursing. Then, the City of El Paso created a 440-acre enterprise zone to attract medical, pharmacological, and informatics entities to the future site.
The project was well underway when the U.S. Department of Defense selected Fort Bliss to be one of its major military bases, which stimulated the local economy with expanded population and construction. Through greatly improved management, the hospital district was able to show a consistent annual operating profit, provide an increasing array of new services, and meet the needs of indigent patients without seeking increases in the parcel tax paid by county property owners.
These situations together created a positive climate to attain yet another long-term community dream—a children’s hospital for El Paso that was subsequently approved by voters in 2008. The entire program of expanding and revitalizing UMC and opening El Paso Children's Hospital was undertaken by the KMD Architects design team in 2006 and completed in early 2012.
UMC now has a reputation as a prestigious academic medical center and a revitalized campus. This is a win-win-win for all the strategic partners.
Strategy 2: Options, options, options
Options are the life blood of a good facility master plan. They offer decision-makers the freedom of choice when you arrive at a fork in the road of future scenarios. Creating multiple options and vetting them equally allows the healthcare system to undergo an apples-to-apples comparison in relation to the stated goals of the project.
KMD planners analyze each option across a wide range of scenarios that the healthcare system may encounter. These scenarios include industry-wide trends, community changes in demographics, economic trends, prospective new legislation, and—not to be forgotten—the healthcare system’s competition.