Healthcare’s Symbiotic Relationship With Tech & Architecture

Healthcare’s Symbiotic Relationship With Tech & Architecture

March 20, 2018

According to Inc., the fastest growing industry is Health, by a longshot. In 2017 health services brought in $24 billion in U.S. revenue. Industries that rank lower on the list are experiencing demand in health-related services as well, proving that a rising tide lifts all boats. Construction comes in at number five on the list of Biggest money-making industries with information technology at number four.

Information Technology

Internet-connected medical devices are the foundation of any modern healthcare system. Cybersecurity is currently a major area of focus for the industry as it saw a year marked by several data breaches and a 525 percent increase in medical device cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As a result, hospitals are taking action to ensure data privacy and secure connected medical devices for patient safety. Over the next five years, it is estimated that hospitals will spend $65 billion to protect patient data creating a demand for cybersecurity experts.

AI is another tech advancement aiding the progression of the healthcare industry. Physician groups are using AI to automate decision-making, create financial and tax reporting efficiencies, automate parts of their supply chains and streamline regulatory compliance functions. Additionally, AI is helping medical staff analyze routine pathology or radiology results quickly and accurately, enabling them to see more patients and ultimately greater revenue.

Construction & Architecture

Continuing a trend from last year, most hospitals are investing in renovation projects over the next three years versus new construction. Construction’s healthcare boom is divided into two approaches, renovation, and new construction. JLL research reports that new construction scoped $40.0B in total project estimates and renovation scoped $22.9B for 2017 projects.

U.S. states experiencing the greatest volume of healthcare growth are, California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Minnesota. Architecture and construction firms are experiencing year-over-year growth creating demand for employees in both sectors. National investment is divided by approach, renovation and new construction. Architects are taking this boom time to reimagine the patient experience and challenge perceptions patients have a hospital visit. Senior healthcare planner Chris Naughton of HMC Architects says, “Healthcare providers are challenged with cost, quality and a timely delivery of services. So, traditional buildings no longer cut it. It’s our job to research and understand our clients’ needs. We must think about services that can improve operations, reduce waste, provide service to patients, and serve the organization’s unique goals and objectives.” The influx in hospital construction provides architects the opportunity to put the patient first in design rather than quickly turning around plans that layout the baseline needs of a hospital.

Outpatient facility construction specifically is seeing significant expansion among physician groups primarily for cost-saving reasons. “In the early 1990s, outpatient care accounted for only 10 to 15% of hospital revenue; today, it’s closer to 60%,” says Patrick Duke, Senior Vice President with KLMK Group, Richmond, Va. Outpatient facilities enable healthcare organizations to deliver care at a lower cost compared to inpatient environments. They are less expensive to buy, operate, and maintain.

Patient-Centered Approach

The start of a new project marks the opportunity for architects to include patients in the design process. When London based design firm, dRRM began work on a cancer support facility, they spoke with cancer patients and their family members to understand how to make the center as comfortable as possible. The findings manifested in subtle changes that made a big difference. Wooden handles replaced traditional metal handles which tend to aggravate the neuropathic hands of patients undergoing chemotherapy. When patient experience is taken into account during the inception of the design process, the impact is great even in the smallest details.

As healthcare continues on the wave of growth, unrelated industries stand to benefit from the demand boom. What market do you think will benefit from healthcare?


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