Medical villages are the latest in a long line of innovative healthcare delivery solutions aimed at making both practitioners’ and patients’ lives easier.
There is a continuing trend throughout the country towards an integrated, one-stop shop medical village. The objective is to modernize and improve innovative healthcare delivery by integrating hospital care with retail, housing, elder care, and living systems through healthcare construction.
Market forces drive the need to streamline, consolidate, and achieve greater efficiencies. Consumers expect greater access and convenience. Reimbursement models favor holistic care rather than periodic treatment incidents. The sum of this requires a more comprehensive architectural design approach.
The healthcare village approach is evident in new partnerships forming among healthcare providers, government agencies, and real estate companies to pursue these projects, reflecting greater collaboration and a more coordinated means to deliver care.
More frequently urgent care, elder care, preventative care, health education, and other outpatient services are being clustered in one-stop shopping destinations.
Medical villages feature flexible, adaptable facilities that are designed to accommodate—and anticipate—evolutions in innovative healthcare delivery and technology. They achieve new efficiencies in how space is used to enable clinical and administrative services to provide multiple functions simultaneously, reducing overall costs.
Patients visiting a medical village can benefit in terms of time, convenience, and access. They can connect with multiple providers in one location, accessing both primary and urgent care, lab work, rehabilitation services, and pharmacy, while also attending educational and wellness classes.
Architecture firms specifically geared to this new trend, like Environments for Health Architecture (E4H), create spaces that make both the practitioners’ and the patient’s lives easier.
Modular designs focus on creating spaces that can be multi-functional with maximum flexibility. The same area, for example, can be used for a rotating specialty clinic one week and an infusion therapy area the next.
Exam rooms are designed to be as uniform as possible, enabling use by any type of provider from psychiatric to cardiology. Likewise, procedure rooms are not dedicated to solely one type of procedure, but rather designed for flexible use.
With shared reception and waiting areas, staff support areas, and bathrooms, costs of excess square footage and services are cut. Private offices are minimal, while staff work areas are open and collaborative, with private consultation areas strategically located throughout.
Dartmouth Hitchcock in Nashua, New Hampshire
This was one of the first innovative healthcare delivery projects E4H completed. The multi-specialty medical office/ambulatory care building accommodates both primary and specialty care patients in a collaborative environment.
Diagnostic testing, endoscopy, MRI/CT, and infusion therapy are provided on site as well as a walk-in clinic for same-day care. Clinical and support programs include pediatrics, family medicine, oncology, internal medicine, gastroenterology, and space for visiting specialists.
The 150,000-square-foot space was designed with E4H’s modular approach, creating a lean environment with extraordinary flexibility for future use. It includes collaborative off-stage areas instead of private physician offices, and saved valuable square footage for clinical space.
The design supports the patient-centered medical home model where a primary care team, led by the physician, works collaboratively to address the acute, chronic, and preventative needs of patients.
Hackensack Meridian Health Village at Jackson in New Jersey
The 150,000-square-foot village opened in 2014–2015. Planning began in 2005, when what then was Meridian Health—the Central New Jersey system—merged with Hackensack University Health Network farther north to meet the underserved need among a growing population of seniors and young families.
The Health Village features more than 100 physicians in over 25 different medical specialties, an urgent care center, a fitness and wellness center—including a swimming pool, classes, and community events—pharmacy, imaging and lab services, and integrative health and medicine— health coaching, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, massage therapy, movement therapy—and a state-of-the-art conference center hosting an array of health and wellness events.
Harker Heights Medical Pavilion in Harker Heights, Texas
The three-story, 60,000-square-foot medical office building is located on the Seton Medical Center campus in Harker Heights, Texas and was built with E4H. Rendina Healthcare Real Estate, one of the largest full-service healthcare real estate firms in the country, developed the building in joint ownership with the many specialists who occupy offices there.
Patients have access to numerous medical specialties all under one roof including family practice, internal medicine, cardiology, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, gastroenterology, otolaryngology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, rheumatology, and urology.
Hoag Health Center in Irvine, California
Hoag Hospital Irvine added a new, comprehensive, state-of-the-art health center across the street from the main hospital in this innovative healthcare delivery project.
Focused on providing specialized services to Irvine and the surrounding communities, the center is comprised of four buildings with 150,000 square feet of medical space including Hoag Urgent Care, an array of world-class physicians, and a variety of additional services designed to complement the adjacent hospital including outpatient services in cancer care, neurosciences, women’s health, heart and vascular, and orthopedics.
Inter-Lakes Health campus in Ticonderoga, New York
The campus, which houses Moses Ludington Hospital, is being transformed into “a medical village” with the help of E4H. This project entails 26,000-square-feet of renovations and is expected to be complete in late 2018.
The hospital will include an emergency department, diagnostic imaging, an outpatient clinic, physical therapy and rehab, a lab, and pharmacy. Adjacent on the same campus will be senior housing, a nursing home, adult home, dental clinic, and a primary care center, as well as hospice care and substance-abuse treatment.
The $9 million project is being funded in part by New York’s Department of Health. A critical part to the project’s completion is the hospital’s partnership with the University of Vermont Health Network, which will further enable the system to bring all new modern facilities to serve more North Country patients.
The collaborative approach to design will allow the system to bring an expanded array of outpatient services to their patients without expanding the footprint of the hospital.
This project is supported by New York State’s major grant program, the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program, aimed at a fundamental restructuring of the healthcare delivery system, and reducing avoidable hospital use by 25 percent over five years.
The pace of change in innovative healthcare delivery will only increase in the coming years, with new technologies, medical treatments, and economic pressures and changes to standard payment models. Creative public/private partnerships, integrated campus models, and design innovations that can readily adapt will be critical to that future.
No one can afford to let space sit idle, so increasing flexibility of usage allows healthcare providers to do more with less and improves the patient experience at the same time.
Jennifer Arbuckle—AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Partner at Environments for Health Architecture (E4H)— has 27 years of diverse healthcare experience. She has guided many projects from master planning through construction and is a talented planner, architect, and designer. She has worked on projects across New York State and New England, ranging from Children’s Hospitals to Community Medical Centers. She is also the Chair of the Vermont Board of Architects.