Commercial

Key Lessons Learned from Micro-Hospital Design Methods

Micro-hospitals are in essence smaller versions of tra­di­tion­al hospitals. These smaller types of hospitals came into existence because of the rising demands placed on larger hospitals and to address gaps in locations where patients may not have easy access to hospital care. Now patients have access to con­ven­tion­al hospital care in a facility that is con­ve­nient­ly located and acces­si­ble while still being connected to different levels of care in a hospital system if needed.

Why learn from micro-hospital design?

Micro-hospitals are taking the com­plex­i­ty of large hospitals and scaling them down with a key focus on flex­i­bil­i­ty, func­tion­al­i­ty and optimal use of space. Even if your design project is on the scale of a standard hospital or other large com­mer­cial building, under­stand­ing the best practices that are used in micro-hospital design can help you create a highly func­tion­al, beautiful, efficient space.

Site & Location

To provide the best care possible, micro-hospitals have to be located within a 30-mile radius of the main or mother hospital and are typically placed in larger metro areas where the com­mu­ni­ties lack easy access to care. Typically these 15,00050,000 square foot micro-hospitals are created for non-emergency or non-life-threat­en­ing patient needs. Therefore, if a patient is in critical condition, they need to be able to get from the micro-hospital to the main facility quickly.

When you are scouting locations for a building project, take into con­sid­er­a­tion the location of existing com­pli­men­ta­ry service providers or the area’s ability to accom­mo­date other providers moving into the community. This is important not only for the expe­ri­ence of visitors, but to the long-term success of the busi­ness­es that will operate from your building.

Con­ve­nient location, ample parking spaces, access to metro transit, and sur­round­ing busi­ness­es are all factors in how your building functions and how that ideal function will be felt by patrons to the building and building occupants. Locating a micro-hospital in the wrong location will hinder the mission of the micro-hospital and the care of the patients it is trying to serve.

Designing Spaces for Clients & Employees

Some areas are char­ac­ter­ized by prominent cultural groups, and micro-hospitals are geared towards adapting to their specific cultural require­ments of an area. For example, if a region is known for having larger families, waiting rooms will be given more square footage and children’s areas to accom­mo­date patients that are accom­pa­nied by large families.

When designing a space, it’s important to keep in mind not only the purpose of the space, but who is going to be using the space. Creating func­tion­al envi­ron­ments for employees, building occupants and patrons is key to a suc­cess­ful project. Adequate com­fort­able space for nurses and doctors is key for employee retention. Working with the micro-hospital staff to design efficient work spaces and optimal traffic flow to minimize travel between patient rooms, x‑ray rooms, and labs will result in better productivity.

Accessibility & Outsourcing

Micro-hospitals function best in a metro-retail envi­ron­ment due to ease of access. A key lesson to take away here is to make sure that the site is acces­si­ble to its main building patrons or occupants. For example, when a business caters to senior citizens, ensure ease of access by having the main entrance in a quiet street with ample parking. In some metro areas locating a micro-hospital near the city’s rail system or bus line could guarantee members of the community access to medical care.

The retail facility can also assist in reducing cost where some of the functions of the micro-hospital can be out­sourced. Depending on the location, food service, laundry, and even jan­i­to­r­i­al services could be out­sourced, saving building space and staff to focus on the care of patients. Consider choosing a location within close proximity to busi­ness­es that could be used to outsource portions of the building occupants’ respon­si­bil­i­ties and needs.

Visibility & Recognition

Micro-hospitals have to be visible. They serve the purpose of stream­lin­ing the patient’s medical require­ments and can only achieve this if the patients are aware of and familiar with the facility and what it has to offer. Choosing a location that allows for exposed branding display can establish famil­iar­i­ty in the public’s eyes.

Micro-hospitals often fall under a specific hospital group that has a similar look and feel. Patients may expect the same quality of design as the main hospitals they are accus­tomed to. However, micro-hospitals also have smaller budgets than regular hospitals, so standard materials may not fit within that budget.

A similar look and feel can be achieved in a number of ways by adding signage on the building, using similar colors schemes as well as using familiar colors and furniture for the interiors. Don’t let tight budgets restrict your cre­ativ­i­ty. The proper use of color schemes and alter­na­tive materials can give your building a polished look without the high price tag.

Scalability & Flexibility

Most hospital buildings are subject to expansion, pop­u­la­tion growth, and tech­no­log­i­cal advances. Micro-hospitals are also designed with these future changes in mind. Choosing building materials that are flexible, durable, and designed to meet future needs is critical in the design of micro-hospitals.

Micro-hospitals are designed to increase the flex­i­bil­i­ty of the facility. This can be accom­plished in any type of building and the building team should col­lab­o­rate to find creative and func­tion­al ways of increas­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty. For example, designing the space will minimal interior load bearing walls means the hospital will be able to change the layout of the facility in the future without a great deal of struc­tur­al analysis and with decreased costs. This will enhance the useful life of the facility and reduce risk of the building become inef­fec­tive in its intended use at some future date.

The success of the micro-hospital is in part reliant on the scale of the facility. Smaller facil­i­ties do not need to accom­mo­date the wide variety of equipment and resources required by much larger facil­i­ties. Even if the existing demand for a facility’s products or services is small, this may not always be the case. Design should accom­mo­date scal­a­bil­i­ty for the day demand starts increasing.

Time & Cost

Good micro-hospital design incor­po­rates pre­fab­ri­cat­ed elements or integral systems and carefully considers the structure of the building in order to shorten the estimated time of con­struc­tion and to reduce cost. This allows hospital systems to deliver health­care to patients in the community faster. Pre­fab­ri­cat­ed and modular systems can be plugged into the main struc­tur­al framework of the facility with ease. This assists with main­te­nance and allows for more flex­i­bil­i­ty within the facility.

Making use of inte­grat­ed wall systems that already conform to reg­u­la­tions and standards will greatly reduce cost and allow for rapid project com­ple­tion. The Bautex Wall System is a great example of how to achieve a fully inte­grat­ed wall system that meets or exceeds code require­ments, fits into any budget, and speeds up con­struc­tion time. When a hospital system iden­ti­fies an area to build a micro-hospital to meet the health­care needs of the community the goal is to open that facility as quickly as possible within a set budget. Using inno­v­a­tive materials and designs is a key step in achieving those goals.

Conclusion

When effec­tive­ly inte­grat­ed into com­mu­ni­ties, micro-hospitals form part of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary devel­op­ment in health­care. Micro-hospitals operate under severe pressure to adhere to reg­u­la­tions, acquire patients, and provide high quality and afford­able healthcare.