As our healthcare clients are exposed to unprecedented change and reform in 2013, they’ve realized there is cost pressure in everything they do. As a result, they’re planning and evaluating all aspects of their operations. This planning should include campus and facility master planning to understand the changing healthcare landscape.

A hospital’s physical plant plays an important role in many cost decisions. For healthcare organizations to fully understand and control the cost of their facility, they should implement a master plan. Planning professionals understand the changes facing healthcare facilities and can tailor a plan that positions them for the future.

Below are four reasons why healthcare organizations should develop a master plan in the face of healthcare reform.

1. HCAHPS—reimbursement and cost
All hospitals are focused on improving their HCAHPS scores. There are specific questions related to noise and cleanliness that the physical environment can impact. In addition, there are questions related to the attitude and behavior of caregivers. Master planning can address these issues and provide an opportunity for improvements that positively impact the hospital’s bottom line.

2. Operations—Lean and Six Sigma
Facility design clearly impacts the operational cost of healthcare. There are many examples of healthcare organizations who inefficiently locate services, staff, and equipment. In many cases, technology systems and products have not been integrated into the facility to enable these savings. The vast majority of healthcare organizations have a Lean or Six Sigma process in place to provide valuable input to the master planning team.

3. Facilities—availability and spending of capital
As capital for facilities becomes more scarce and difficult to obtain, it’s important for it to be spent as strategically as possible. This requires careful planning and coordination with facility planning. Master planning is the best tool that healthcare organizations can use to ensure their capital is spent in the most effective manner possible.


4. Infrastructure—building operations
A comprehensive master plan assesses and analyzes the facility’s costs associated with building and infrastructure operations. This is an important aspect of planning due to current utility cost increases and future increases that are sure to materialize. Engineering involvement is a very important component of a master plan, due to the potential for solutions that impact operational costs. In addition, engineering planning evaluates energy-efficient solutions, which allocate capital to save operational costs immediately and in the long term. This type of analytical research and evidence provides an objective evaluation of these solutions.

Gary Vance, AIA, FACHA, LEED AP,is the director of national healthcare for BSA LifeStructures. He is a recognized thought leader in healthcare planning and design, providing hospitals with creative solutions to their facility problems. He also collaborates with various healthcare constituent groups to develop innovative solutions to operational, facility, and organizational problems. He can be reached at For more information, please visit