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Have you seen the April issue of Healthcare Design yet?

When you look at it, be sure to read my article on microhospitals.

This was a fascinating topic to explore — worthy of much more than my 1,500-word assignment. In doing my research, I found a lot had already been written on microhospitals.

I also found that there’s confusion over what a microhospital is. It’s not a critical access hospital (those are usually in rural areas and don’t have outpatient services). It’s not a surgery hospital (those are surgery hospitals). And it’s not a satellite hospital (those are too big).

A microhospital is just what its name implies — a small (15,000-50,000) square foot in- and outpatient hospital, usually in a metropolitan area within 30 miles of a larger parent hospital. Design-wise, microhospitals try to follow the architecture and design of the parent hospital.

Microhospitals a Stealth Strategy

And while many healthcare architecture firms are aware of this new model, not many have actually designed and built a microhospital. Yet.

Administrators at healthcare systems that have designed and built microhospitals are reluctant to talk about them, fearing their competitors will learn about their strategy. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. But, seriously, what healthcare system doesn’t know what its competitors are doing?

When it comes to microhospitals, developer/operator Emerus is the two-ton gorilla in the marketplace. Partnering with healthcare systems, it has more than 20 facilities in six states with a lot more planned.

Want More?

Check out these recent articles on microhospitals:

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Ed Logsdon

7 years ago

I grew up in a small town in NW Ohio that had a hospital with 6 - 8 ORs. Now that facility, which is still there and operating, might be considered a "micro-hospital" by the above definitions or renovated to be as such. Technology or "telemedicine" is the glue everyone is counting on to connect outlying facilities to the main hospital. Elder and aging persons will be wary and intimidated by video conferencing. Early design considerations help to create better spaces for the patient (and their caregiver), i.e., a quiet and well isolated room with integrated conferencing. The room is easier to use and the patient is more relaxed with a virtual doctor's visit.

Sara Marberry

7 years ago

Thanks for your comments, Ed! The hospital you describe is a rural hospital. Microhospitals are typically in metropolitan areas within 20-30 miles of a main hospital. I don't necessarily see them relying on telemedicine (because they can just send patients to the main hospital), but it will be crucial for hospitals in rural areas.

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What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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