Does Your Clinic Have It All?

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(The Advent Of Medical Hubs, Super Clinics And Multispecialty Clinics)

Healthcare practices across the country are looking for more and more ways to be competitive without compromising the provision of excellent services. This move makes sense on a number of fronts, specifically the ability of practices to reduce costs and improve outcomes whilst increasing client access and growing market share.

It is no secret that clinics built now boast remarkable and progressive differences compared to those completed in the last 5 to 10 years.

Medical Hubs And Multispecialty Clinics

According to industry builders, the advent of medical hubs and super clinics is further inspired by healthcare reform pressing the need for population health management, with providers more invested than ever in keeping people well. That mindset is requiring solutions like home models of care delivery and inspiring new builds and renovations that support collaborative, team-based environments according to Christine Guzzo Vickery, Vice President at HGA Architects and Engineers (Minneapolis) and co-author of Modern Clinic Design: Strategies for an Era of Change, published in 2015.

Although primary care is certainly a factor, Vickery says it’s mostly specialty and multispecialty practices behind the surge, including everything from women’s and children’s care to sports medicine and orthopaedic clinics. Collocating all providers involved in patients’ treatment plans under one roof goes a long way toward operational efficiency and, more importantly, patient satisfaction.

This current landscape is largely due to private physicians joining group practices at large healthcare systems and institutions. This group mentality results in the creation of specialty clinics to maximize their service offerings and broaden their reach. Exactly what shape those efforts take is key to providers differentiating themselves among the competition. “The nature of the design environment is seen as just as important as bringing services to the community; it’s bringing it in the right package,” says Ted Shaw, associate principal at Perkins+Will (New York).

Multispecialty Clinics Defined

A multi-specialty clinic is one unique approach to healthcare in which doctors share facilities, administration, income and expenses, support staff and equipment. Doctors can specialise in related medical practices or provide a wide range of specialties. One of the first multi-specialty clinics in the United States was the Mayo Clinic, which started in the late 1800s. By 1926, it developed an organisational structure that included 386 dentists and physicians.

Multispecialty Clinics: Purpose

Multi-specialty clinics are designed to serve all the needs of patients and their families in one convenient location. Physicians can consult with each other and provide tests and radiological exams under one roof. As medicine becomes more specialised, doctors rely on peers well-versed in other areas of medicine to treat the whole patient. Referrals are seamless, and patients can develop a relationship with support and administrative staff that transfers across all their lines of treatment. Single practitioners who may not be able to afford expensive diagnostic equipment can share the expenses with clinic partners. Various specialists can develop relationships with each other to provide complete treatment for their patients.

Multispecialty Clinics Aka ‘Hub’ Model

A “hub” model of care solves common user concerns by providing complex and urgent care 24/7, thus forming an accessible ‘medical neighbourhood’. Specialty care hubs cost less to build and to operate than a hospital and serve as part of a more traditional, large outpatient multi-specialty centre during regular business hours. A hub model offers the potential for newly formed accountable care organisations to expand and fill a crucial missing piece in the care system.

The hub model of care connects the value of services provided and actual improvements in health outcomes. The hub model aims for an accountable and sustainable community care and coordination system that leads to better health and lower costs.

Your Clinic And The Future

Building uses change, as times changes. Designers need to work hard to provide flexibility and adaptability throughout. The zoning of spaces in the planning process is a good practice. Rather than fitting a program into the ‘space‘ without an overarching logic, it is important to consider the future when reallocating or repurposing space.

With the future in mind, clinics should be utilising more modular wall systems and common plumbing walls This will make a consult room easily convertible to single or multiple exam rooms or even shared team rooms if required.

A higher price tag is initially payable, however shared hubs provide a great way to future-proof clinic space.

Staying nimble, it is best to standardise exam rooms as much possible so any doctor on any day can easily move from one set of exam rooms to the next, depending on patient volume.

Interite Healthcare Interiors anticipates exciting times as medical clinic design becomes more collaborative and efficient.



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