"If, in theory, the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] has now got 7 million people engaged in healthcare insurance who didn't have that previously, the inrush of patients will be outpatient-based," says Larry Arndt, general manager of healthcare in the company's Chicago offices. "What's not needed is bed space or heavy procedural space."
A Strategic Dead End
The PPACA, employers, and commercial health plans have made clear that pursuing expensive inpatient volume in the traditional sense is a strategic dead end. That doesn't mean new patient towers won't go up, but it does mean their construction will be based on adaptability, patient flow, and efficiency gains, not bed count.
As few as five to seven years ago, says Arndt, a healthcare leadership team would take a capital improvement project through a planning and programming phase in which they followed a traditional approach. The team would utilize widely standardized metrics and program their building based on what they're doing now, with no consideration of the future, Arndt says.
By contrast, within the last five years, more leaders have been embracing the concept of lean operational improvement.