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Healthcare Trends: Hospital Infrastructure

A hospital's overall functioning and delivery of patient care is heavily influenced by its basic infrastructure. Infrastructure is at the core of patient care by supporting fundamental elements including safety, efficiency, timeliness, privacy, equipment and access to preferred medical supplies. With over 6,000 hospitals and nearly one million hospital beds throughout the United States, smooth functioning of hospitals is a national priority. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry is positioned to invest in modernization with a forward-looking mentality. We'll examine some of the biggest healthcare trends in hospital infrastructure and how it could be the key to improving healthcare.

Flexibility

COVID-19 has been severely testing the ability of our nation's hospitals to respond rapidly and effectively.  Many facilities have been forced to re-purpose internal space, increase bed capacity and quickly adjust logistical process flows.  This reorganization is no small feat with when you consider the many resources that a hospital requires.  Flexibility of a hospital's infrastructure has been a key factor in the speed at which hospitals are able to adjust.  Mobile or temporary modular units can facilitate optimization of hospital resources.   Shifts in demand for care are becoming increasingly common and mobile/modular clinics can be a valuable extension of any facility that can serve a variety of functions depending on need.  Interior modular construction can also be seen as a cost saving solution to increased flexibility.  Installing pre-manufactured walls affords hospitals the ability to reconfigure rooms as needed and avoid heavy duty construction.  While health care providers are still battling the current pandemic, healthcare planners are already considering future measures to improve flexibility and resilience of hospitals.

Medtech and Data Management

Another healthcare trend is that the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly connected through the internet, technology and advancing software.  Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are used by more than 94% of hospitals and have become an integral part of healthcare.  Medical technology companies manufacture more than 500,000 different types of medical devices, according to a healthcare trends technology report by Deloitte.  Many of these devices are interacting with monitoring and recording patient data.  The digital and physical world are coming together to advance the way we diagnose and treat patients.  Smart devices will further connect and aid communication but also create a large volume of data.  Deloitte predicts this process may lead to improved patient outcomes including decreased costs, improved diagnoses, better disease management and overall enhanced patient experience.  Development of medical technology could grow into a $158.1 billion industry by 2022.  Many health officials advocate for increased data infrastructure to improve communication between hospital systems.  This area of data management could be key for managing increased testing of COVID-19.  Electronic data sharing is currently de-centralized and health agencies are seeing the value in establishing a standardized method of reporting.

Healthcare Supply

COVID-19 has heightened the awareness that the United States has become somewhat reliant on foreign-made medical supplies.  This has made our system vulnerable during the pandemic and contributed to the shortages of PPE, ventilators and other preferred medical supplies.  One healthcare trend we're keeping an eye on is how hospitals supplies may be impacted by a push to strengthen domestic production of medical supplies.  COVID-19 may open up a new era of manufacturing essential products within the United States.  This could be beneficial to hospitals in some ways such as increased visibility of the supply chain, increased demand planning and strong relationships between hospitals and suppliers.  However, there could also be negative impacts like increased costs and more strict inventory management within hospital systems.  Currently, the White House's Coronavirus Task Force is leading a four-pronged approach to coordinate supply chains.  Although many hospitals are currently overwhelmed with immediate supply concerns, the healthcare industry may be in a position to review the entire supply system and improve upon it.

 

The Perspective from Lakeside Manufacturing

At Lakeside, we place a high priority on staying informed with the latest healthcare trends and how they may impact our customers.  Healthcare is a rapidly changing environment.  As a supplier to the industry, we hope to be a resource and to share helpful information from our team's experience.  Hospital infrastructure is a critical component to smooth functioning.  Whether it's medical carts or hospital cleanliness, Lakeside strives to be on the cutting edge of the healthcare industry.  We welcome any feedback, questions or comments.  Please give us a call or send an email today!

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