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  • Writer's pictureKen Harms

The Future of Healthcare Construction

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

By: Kenneth Harms, Sr. Vice President of MatriScope Engineering

The future of healthcare construction in the U.S. is poised for significant changes as advances in technology, changing demographics, and evolving patient needs drive innovative approaches to facility design and construction.

Providers will aim to promote community health and preventative care through wellness gardens, multi-purpose spaces, and easy access to public transportation. Specialized facilities will become commonplace to address the needs of specific treatment types, and resiliency measures will be incorporated to ensure healthcare facilities can withstand natural disasters and emergencies, providing a diverse and well-equipped environment for patients and healthcare professionals in the future. These trends lead to improved patient care and facilities that staff and visitors can thrive.

As the healthcare landscape changes, so must the construction industry.

A Changing Landscape

One of the most influential factors driving the future of healthcare construction is technology. New advances such as telemedicine, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and robotics are revolutionizing healthcare delivery. In a previous blog, I wrote about the impact of AI on construction, and there is no doubt that AI-powered diagnostics will become the norm, allowing for more efficient and accessible care.

At a recent healthcare panel I attended, "The Changing Landscape of Healthcare Design & Delivery," panelist and Executive Director of Strategic Programs at UC Davis Healthcare, Jill Tomczyk, mentioned that "flexibility is key in order to adapt to a changing world" when asked about the impacts of AI in healthcare.

Demographic shifts in the US, characterized by an aging population and an increasing focus on preventive care, will also shape healthcare construction. The aging baby boomer population will demand specialized facilities that cater to their unique healthcare needs, such as senior living centers, geriatric clinics, and long-term care facilities. Simultaneously, an emphasis on wellness and prevention will lead to the development of outpatient facilities and wellness centers, promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing the burden on traditional hospital infrastructure.

Furthermore, the healthcare industry's growing commitment to sustainability and environmental consciousness will impact future construction practices. Green building certifications, energy-efficient designs, and eco-friendly materials will be prioritized to minimize the environmental impact of healthcare facilities. Embracing sustainable practices will not only reduce operational costs but also enhance the overall patient experience, contributing to the well-being of both patients and staff.

The use of AI and other progressive means are being put into practice in the healthcare industry already

A Decentralized Approach

The future of healthcare construction will also witness a shift from the traditional hospital-centric model to a more decentralized approach. In my hometown of Sacramento, we are seeing this trend currently being built by providers including UC Davis Health, Kaiser, and Common Spirit. Ambulatory care centers and community-based facilities are gaining prominence, providing accessible care close to patients’ homes and workplaces. This decentralization will reduce the stress on large hospital campuses and offer a more cost-effective and patient-centric approach to healthcare delivery.

Case Study: UC Davis Health builds new Ambulatory Care Center

UC Davis Health, located in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood, is currently building its new ‘48X’ Ambulatory Care Center. The four-story complex is expected to open for patients in 2025 and will help address the shortage of ambulatory operating room capacity at the main hospital. In addition to 14 additional operating rooms, 59 pre- and post-operative recovery bays, 14 single occupancy 23-hour recovery rooms, 96 clinical exam rooms, and 19 clinical treatment rooms, the 268,228 square-foot building will also include public spaces, clinical support, operations space, imaging space, physical therapy space, and administration support.

The future site of UC Davis Health's brand new '48X' Ambulatory Care Center in Sacramento.

As a resident of Sacramento, and a member of the team here at MatriScope Engineering that is leading the testing and inspection efforts at the new ambulatory care center, I am excited about this new addition to our healthcare footprint.

MatriScope is proud to be providing our services on the upcoming 48X project, which will directly benefit local residents here in Sacramento and throughout Northern CA.

In Conclusion

In a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, it is imperative to stay informed about the latest construction trends shaping the industry. By considering the needs of both healthcare providers and patients, these trends demonstrate a convergence of advanced technology, sustainability, and patient-centered design. Keeping up to date with these developments will ensure that healthcare facilities offer optimal care without sacrificing efficiency or budget.

As we continue to progress into a new era of healthcare delivery, it is crucial for key decision-makers, healthcare professionals, architects, builders, and consultants to collaborate and drive innovative healthcare construction design that enhances the patient experience and promotes the healing environment.

About the Author

Ken Harms

Senior VP of Business Development and Corporate Strategy, MatriScope

With over 35 years of experience in the built environment, Ken Harms is seasoned at developing sustainable relationships within the construction industry. His proven record of accomplishment implementing corporate initiatives is in perfect alignment with MatriScope’s long-term strategic expansion plans. Ken is responsible for overseeing MatriScope’s strategic growth initiatives as the company expands into new markets and explores additional service offerings. Additionally, Ken enjoys mentoring the next generation of industry leaders, volunteering locally in Sacramento, and giving back to the community.

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