By Anshuman Magazine
Over the centuries, the healthcare industry has thrived on technological advancements. Better equipment, software, data storage programs, etc. are life-saving resources – critical particularly to the medical fraternity.
Contrary to the popular opinion, COVID-19 did not lead to tech adoption across sections – instead it altered businesses’ perspectives, and patient expectations for healthcare delivery, services, and health office operations. Unfortunately, despite a dynamic healthcare ecosystem, long-term capital assets such as real estate and supply chain management (SCM) protocols continue to fall short of expectations.
What’s required now is the accelerated adoption of new design trends that encourage healthcare facilities and offices to incorporate flexible spaces that allow the implementation of anticipated or future tech.
Tech identified today will help healthcare players make informed decisions in the near future. Some of these include:
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Technology
The adoption of the “cloud” has taken an uptick in recent years. Owing to this, the infrastructure itself needs to be reimagined keeping in mind complex data and technologies which are deployed in today’s processes and finding synergies with the needs of even more advanced and thereby complex technologies such as the Internet of Things, AI, and Remote procedural robotics.
With the help of the services and tools available today, the healthcare sector can become much more effective and efficient when it comes to managing records and enabling enhanced data security. These tools help in archiving data quickly and reduce paper-based workflows enabling efficiency in the functioning of an organization.
With EMR, health systems can easily share patient updates from one facility to the next without the hassle of a physical paper trail. The deployment can help reduce the need for large administrative spaces in medical offices – allowing healthcare players to better utilize floor space.
Transition non-clinical workforces that can partially or completely work remotely (including finance, legal, marketing, and other back-office functions) can be moved to flexible/shared workspaces.
Speed of Patient Care
Advancements in technology have significantly improved patient procedures. Experiments with surgical robots and artificial intelligence are now allowing physicians to perform surgeries remotely, serving patients in areas that don’t have access to specialized medical care.
Shorter patient treatment and recovery times infer those facilities may not need the amount of space that they have used in the past. Instead, health systems could focus their efforts on multiple small facilities or more specialized facilities across a broader area. Micro-hospitals, “medtail” facilities and outpatient clinics are a few examples of this kind of healthcare real estate trend.
Technology is enabling the disinvestment of underutilized assets – helping move operations to smaller facilities while optimizing floor space. In fact, the integration of telehealth into real estate makes complete sense – making it more efficient and financially viable to offer services and care modalities than others.
Effective implementation can enable healthcare players to re-prioritize service lines and are otherwise non-revenue generating departments – reconfiguring real estate needs, reducing or eliminating office space requirements – while allowing players to manage lease tenures more efficiently.
While medical office buildings won’t disappear but will undergo a definite shift. Similarly, when it comes to the construction and development of healthcare properties, varied perspectives will drive buying and developing trends – disrupting the healthcare space.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an environment that necessitated rapid innovation and will forever change how healthcare facilities are designed and built. Health systems are evaluating how future facilities will be designed in order to create flexibility within their platforms in the event of another pandemic. Surge capacity, temporary hospitals, personal protective equipment, and the ability to maintain elective procedures necessitate flexibility in the hospital of the future.
Redesigns inspired by tech integration are something that would need to be considered while evaluating an investment. If done correctly, tech integration can actually maximize productivity per square foot for healthcare providers.
Telehealth, AI, and voice recognition technology have positioned healthcare real estate to not only survive the pandemic-induced economic downturn but thrive as one of the strongest areas of the commercial real estate sector.
Leapfrog into a better world
The current healthcare infrastructure still functions in silos, with various legacy devices limiting functionality and interoperability with new infrastructure. To acknowledge future demand, and to aid this transition, the most important thing for healthcare providers is to focus on the right technologies that will help plan for future customer needs and expectations.
Taking all this into account, we must understand that a change is needed, not just how healthcare is delivered – but how it can be delivered to all. Change around how geography, fixed status, or economic conditions stop being prohibitive for access to good quality healthcare.
Technology is what this change hinges on. The onus lies on us – not only to provide the technology but also to innovate for all.
By Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa, CBRE
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)