Navigating the tightrope
August 20, 2021 · Insights
Linking strategic decision-making with financial planning rollout
At a high level, regardless of leadership structure, internal decision-making is challenging and has many systems at play. Key stakeholders can be hesitant to spend money until they are sure of the right direction. This is true even under normal circumstances, but in the age of a pandemic, healthcare infrastructure is squeezed, and leaders worry about lost revenue when hospitals divert resources to support temporary COVID-19 measures.
The past year has disrupted the normal cycle of planning and execution. Checkups and elective procedures were down during COVID-19, and now that case numbers are returning to pre-pandemic levels, there is the potential for a surge in volumes. The low volumes during COVID-19 will average together with the higher volumes as people emerge from the pandemic. From a planning perspective, things will likely return to the trajectory they were on a year ago.
Wellness also has emerged as a key priority, with an increasing emphasis on early prevention measures to obtain a better outcome and quicker recovery after a major event, such as surgery or labor and delivery. In this way, facilities can support the cycle of wellness and reduce the intensity and duration of post-treatment care by making people generally healthier. This also allows the healthcare system to develop relationships with community members while they are healthy, so they choose that system later when they need care.
In orthopedics, providers are delivering physical therapy before surgery to get patients into the best shape possible ahead of a procedure, accelerating recovery. Obstetric practices are expanding into women’s centers that offer nutrition counseling and spa-like atmospheres to promote better prenatal care, optimizing the health of mothers to be.
In fact, there’s no better time to plan because the pandemic has caused the healthcare system to display its strengths as well as revealed opportunities for improvement. With the cost of construction materials on the rise, now is a great time to settle into long-term planning activities. There has been a lull in the normal breakneck pace of action, which can provide a key opportunity for decision-makers to slow down and thoughtfully address things in the granular detail needed for effective planning.
Steve Alby, NCARB, LEED AP, is GMC’s Vice President of Healthcare. He uses his 30+ years of healthcare planning and design experience to create outstanding environments for healthcare clients through high quality planning and design. Click here to contact Steve for more information on healthcare design .