As part of the healthcare reform debate, there has been much discussion related to rebuilding a healthcare system that can support a model more dependent on the primary care physician. Of course, the healthcare system has largely come away from this model since providers have marketed and captured a healthcare consumer market share based on a specialization of their services.

Because of the need to streamline healthcare and contain costs, it now appears we may be coming back to a system which will rely on more primary care physician as gatekeepers. If this turns out to be the case, what potential impacts might we see to healthcare facilities as a result?

I recently attended a conference regarding healthcare reform and one of the potential forecasts was the development of a medical home where a primary care provider is based and establishes a more routine pattern of regular visits with their patient. The intent behind this is to have more preventative services employed in order to combat illness before it develops to a point of requiring more expensive forms of treatment. These are envisioned as a more community-based facility for the convenience of patients not unlike the medical office buildings seen today. The difference is the ability to treat patients with more preventative and in some cases alternative therapies. This might mean the inclusion of other services such as exercise facilities and stress-reducing spaces for specialties like acupuncture. No doubt facilities like this already exist but they are limited relative to the potential need in the scenario where larger numbers of insured might be involved. While the nation awaits the debate of where reform is headed, this is one more consideration to add to the mix of potential outcomes.