5 Trends in Healthcare Planning for 2024
January 23, 2024
Imagine a world where healthcare isn't just about check-ups and prescriptions but instead it is customized to fit our evolving health needs. It's happening!
AE Works’ Healthcare Planning & Strategy Leader, Jeanmarie Zimmerman ACHA, AIA, EDAC, CCIDC is taking a closer look at the big ideas in healthcare planning - from the integration of advanced technologies to the emphasis on flexible delivery models, she's sharing her insights into five trends.
Jeanmarie is an American College of Healthcare Architects (one of only 19 in Pennsylvania) and an Evidence Based Design Certified Architect and Interior Designer. She brings her passion for design and patient-centered solutions to her role in growing AE Works’ established Healthcare practice. Her experience ranges from senior living to the full continuum - from acute to outpatient care. Jeanmarie is a member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Academy of Architecture for Health and is on its Knowledge Sub Committee.
Trend #1 - Transformative Technology
The intersection of technology and healthcare is continuously reshaping the industry, introducing transformative tools that hold the promise of revolutionizing patient care. Healthcare sector spending for artificial intelligence and machine learning is expected to surpass 10.5% in 2024, up from 5.5% in 2022, according to a recent Morgan Stanley research report.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
We are already seeing the initial areas impacted by AI will be non-clinical applications, including documentation and education. The industry is forecasting that there will be AI-powered predictive clinical models for earlier disease detection and medical devices that evolve with AI to enhance overall capabilities. Machine learning algorithms can analyze vast amounts of medical data, including imaging, genetic information, and patient records, to identify patterns and detect subtle signs of diseases in their early stages.
Drones can play a pivotal role in healthcare with the swift delivery of blood, medicine, and medical supplies, especially in remote and rural areas. Flex Air Aviation reports that the Cleveland Clinic plans to launch a drone delivery service for certain medicines by 2025. Similarly, in U.S. regions like Pennsylvania, advocates are pushing for drone testbeds, recognizing the potential for drones to enhance local emergency services and aviation training.
Robots (like supply chain TUGS) are transforming healthcare logistics, autonomously delivering linens, dietary items, and lab supplies on preprogrammed routes and across long distances on campus. Robots can also secure pharmacy deliveries, especially for hazardous drugs, reducing errors and offering an efficient solution, ultimately decreasing the need for full-time equivalents (FTEs).
Trend #2 – Accelerated Speed to Market Building Solutions
Modular and prefabricated building solutions are increasingly favored in healthcare projects for their efficiency and time-saving benefits. By assembling components off-site, these methods streamline construction timelines, ensuring quicker deployment of healthcare facilities. Modular and prefab healthcare spaces could include clinics and urgent care centers, laboratories, isolation units, pharmacies, mobile medical units, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, and dental clinics. The precision in manufacturing enhances quality control, potentially leading to cost savings, and the adaptable nature of these structures allows for future expansions or modifications to meet evolving healthcare needs.
Trend #3 – Convenient Access to Healthcare Services
Episodic hospital visits are now deemed financially impractical, prompting a shift towards cost-effective ambulatory care which constitutes 30% of provider revenues (according to McKinsey). Healthcare planning needs to leverage ambulatory strategies, including virtual healthcare, with shorter payback periods and adaptable objectives. Providers, aiming for market share based on convenience, are likely to retrofit non-health facilities for accessibility and outreach. Additionally, Micro Hospitals are redefining how medical care is delivered locally by bringing vital medical services, on a smaller, more accessible scale, closer to suburban and rural areas.
Trend #4 – Collaborative Spaces for Interdisciplinary Teams
Designing collaborative healthcare spaces involves creating environments that facilitate interdisciplinary teamwork among professionals such as the integration of primary care and behavioral health services. These spaces break down silos, encouraging open communication and collaboration between diverse healthcare staff. The goal is to support a holistic approach to patient care by enabling professionals to easily share insights and contribute collectively to decision-making, ultimately enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
Trend #5 – Increased Emphasis on Sustainability
As climate changes increase, so does the demand for sustainable design in healthcare projects with a dual responsibility to environmental impact and long-term operational efficiency. By emphasizing energy efficiency, waste reduction, and the use of eco-friendly materials, these solutions not only lower operational costs but also contribute to a smaller ecological footprint. This focus aligns with the broader shift towards patient-centered care, recognizing the crucial role that sustainable and healing environments play in enhancing the patient experience.
With more than 200 healthcare projects across the country, AE Works is ranked a Top Healthcare Architecture Firm by Building Design + Construction. Check out our healthcare portfolio for more insights and please get in touch with any questions. We look forward to the opportunity to bring better value to your projects.
Jeanmarie Zimmerman is an American College of Healthcare Architects (one of only 19 in Pennsylvania) and an Evidence Based Design Certified Architect and Interior Designer. She brings her passion for design and patient-centered solutions to her role in growing AE Works’ established Healthcare practice. Her experience ranges from senior living to the full continuum - from acute to outpatient care. Jeanmarie is a member of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Academy of Architecture for Health and is on its Knowledge Sub Committee.