ACA Reform: Patients have Higher Expectations for Healthcare Settings

healthcare design

By Kristin Zeit, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Design

As more and more patients prefer retail health such as alternative medicine and healing options for their medical treatments, the trend toward fewer beds in hospitals is here to stay, attendees learned at last month’s ASHE PDC annual summit.

Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Executive Director Paul H. Keckley said that the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is transforming the health industry into a patient demand market, directly affecting the shaping of the built environment. While healthcare spending has had a sustained increase of 4 percent every year for the past four years, the GDP has increased just 2 percent over the same period, negatively impacting the bottom line of all U.S. industries. Slowing healthcare spending is an urgent need of employers. The ACA’s dual solution is to fix both the insurance and delivery systems.  Three major changes are underway in delivery: moving toward permanently replacing fee-for-service incentives with outcome-based models; establishing incentives to reward clinical integration for a more holistic continuum of care; and focusing on clinical innovation that reduces unnecessary healthcare procedures and practices. The budgets now required to define necessary care are being taken from building budgets. At the same time, the new focus on patient preference will drive building design toward higher standards. People now have high expectations for well-designed, attractive facilities and amenities, especially in ambulatory settings. How this preference will affect the presentation of retail health options is the next challenge for creators of the medical built environment.

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