DPR Releases New “Future of Healthcare” Study

by Hamilton Espinosa

As a result of working with leading healthcare providers for years, DPR sees that the healthcare industry is changing quite dramatically. To live up to our core value of “ever forward” and better serve customers, DPR conducted a year-long, intensive study called, “Future of Healthcare” to find out where the industry is going over the next 10 years. The study used a mix of in-person interviews and online surveys, conducted by an independent third party.

With more than $2.5 billion in healthcare projects, DPR has a unique perspective on the entire healthcare ecosystem, as our work impacts how hospitals are designed, built and how they will eventually function. DPR conducted the study to bring new insights to the industry and help healthcare leaders navigate the increasingly complex environment that will impact patient care and bottom lines. More than 40 CEOs, owners, designers and management consultants were interviewed for the Future of Healthcare study. The perspectives of these executives reinforced what we’ve been hearing: Providers are seeking to deliver the best care while striving to be cost effective.

DPR’s Future of Healthcare study revealed 10 areas of industry change--in addition to healthcare reform--that include: accountable care organizations; pay-for-performance; aging population (both patients and staff); electronic medical records; healthcare worker shortage; sophisticated diagnostic and treatment equipment; handheld computers and portable diagnostic equipment; medical homes; holistic, patient-centered environment; and evidence-based medicine.

Three key areas that will become increasingly important to the industry over the next 10 years are: health economics, healthcare delivery and buildings of the future. 2012 is heading into an unprecedented era in managing health economics due to uncertainty and the need for healthcare providers to deliver the care they need, while being cost effective. Both the increasing population of aging people--as people live and work longer--and the additional 32 million insured U.S. citizens--the result of healthcare reform becoming fully implemented--will cause demand to skyrocket. Healthcare delivery is becoming more patient-centric, and at the same time, centralized and vertically integrated, with IT playing an important role.

Buildings of the future will accommodate trends in health economics and delivery, with emphasis around design and system integration. As health technologies become more sophisticated and simultaneously require less physical space, the need for server and data center support will increase. For example, dubbed the “Hospital of the Future,” DPR’s Palomar Medical Center just opened to the public on August 19th. As a building of the future, the hospital is a complete departure from the old way of doing things: It is adaptable, both in terms of patient needs and technology. The new hospital was designed and built with technological advancements in mind to facilitate better patient care. It is built to adapt: It can eventually house more than 600 patients, which is more than double its current size, and is wired with 57 miles of Ethernet cable to facilitate current and ever-changing technological systems.

The Future of Healthcare study consensus is that healthcare systems have already started to make the changes that will make them more competitive, regardless of the impact of government-mandated reform. As practiced today, healthcare is not fiscally sustainable. There must be, and there certainly will be, transformative changes over the next 10 years.

To tweet about this study, please use: #futureofhc