The Architecture, Capital Equipment, and Engineering (ACE) Summit and Reverse Expo held from Feb. 1-3 in Atlanta, Georgia highlighted the biggest challenges and questions facing healthcare suppliers, vendors, architects, engineers, and other heavy hitters in the industry. These include whether healthcare projects are in demand or profitable with some of the biggest areas of focus for participants being location and the cost effectiveness of these projects.
Here are seven key takeaways from the ACE Summit:
1. Projects are being centered in more suburban areas than large cities
With the growth of suburban populations, health systems and builders have concentrated on expanding the medical office, hospital and other offerings in these areas. Attendees discussed the increase in projects taking place in suburban locations as opposed to bigger cities. This is to meet higher demand for healthcare in spaces that may have lacked hospitals and outpatient centers which represent new markets for construction companies and engineers as well as healthcare suppliers.
2. More focus on wellness centers
Employers and individuals often focus on health and wellness programs specifically on modification of behaviors that could negatively affect health. Coupled with an overall need to be healthier, wellness centers are in demand compared to the past. Wellness centers could be a growing area of profitability for builders and medical care leaders.
3. Preventative maintenance
Whether it’s a leak in the roof or broken medical equipment, maintenance problems can prevent healthcare institutions from optimal operations. Preventative maintenance of buildings, equipment and supplies is key to avoiding reductions in patient care and revenue loss. Attendees emphasized the importance of routine maintenance and anticipating those necessary fixes before they turn into issues later on. This also includes hiring professionals to inspect buildings, tools and medical equipment on a regular basis.
4. Urgent care centers to capture patients in their backyard
Patients don’t want to take a long drive for immediate healthcare attention. This results in an increasing number of urgent care centers to meet increasing demand. More urgent care centers result in market growth.
5. Competition with IDNs promotes growth in community
Integrated delivery networks (IDNs) are designed to offer a continuum of care in a certain region or market, which could increase competition and affect a current health system’s revenue. However, IDNs also result in greater choices within a community, which benefits patients overall.
6. Uncertainty surrounds LEED building benefits vs. cost
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council quickly became the standard in sustainable building design. Many LEED advocates tout the health benefits of a green building, including better air quality, which could improve patient and staff well-being. However, those who invest in green buildings note these eco-friendly structures come at a high cost. Some of these buildings cost $200,000 or more in order to get them to hit all the requirements and earn that LEED certification. Participants at ACE had concerns whether or not the benefits of LEED buildings really support the high cost.
7. More reliance on intelligent decision making
Big data has become a source of contention for those in the healthcare field and whether it is beneficial in how they decide to invest, spend, and build. While some healthcare leaders suggest data leads to more intelligent decision making, others don’t want to decide what’s best for their patients, employees and shareholders based solely on numbers, but rather on what’s needed in their communities.
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With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.