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Besides health reform (see my post from last week), another looming issue affecting U.S. healthcare providers is a bunch of scheduled healthcare spending cuts — to the tune of 27% in Medicare physician payments and 2% to all Medicare providers.

This will increase the financial pressures on providers, which, coupled with the limited availability of capital, will affect the size and scope of new projects that they take on.

DPR Construction recently did a survey of 42 healthcare and design leaders and published a free report called “The Future of Healthcare:  A New Focus on Wellness, Integration, and Community.”  In addition to cost-cutting and tight schedules, the top design and planning issues identified by survey respondents were:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Universal Design
  3. Standardization
  4. Energy Conservation
  5. Sustainability

The report summarizes 10 trends gleaned from the survey respondents of what the future holds for healthcare and their own systems.  It concludes by stating what all of us know to be true — that healthcare, as it is practiced today, is not fiscally sustainable.

In a presentation about the survey results at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference several weeks ago, Kip Edwards, VP, Development and Construction at Banner Health said that healthcare providers will “have to be able to function with one foot in the present and one foot in the future.”

And, that, my friends, is the biggest challenge facing the industry today.

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Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at sara@saramarberry.com.

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