The many challenges facing healthcare institutions are intensified when hospitals are located in rural areas. Ever-tightening budgets, aging facilities, shifting demographics, and the rapid evolution of technologies are among the concerns hospital administrators are working to address. For Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), these concerns are compounded by additional uncertainties; rumors of potential revisions to the CAH program abound, which could mean changes in reimbursement, staffing, and service delivery. All of these issues could have significant impact on the future of rural healthcare delivery, creating an environment of uncertainty for system administrators and the communities they serve.
Many rural facilities require upgrades now, however administrators simply cannot wait until the future of healthcare becomes clear in order to address pressing needs. Despite an uncertain environment that may last years—or even decades—rural healthcare systems must continue to provide the best in care, staffing, and support to the diverse populations they serve. Given ongoing financial challenges, many are searching for new approaches to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care.
Our role as healthcare architects is to innovate the most practical and efficient solutions possible to support rural facilities and CAHs as they navigate an unknown future. While working with multiple healthcare providers across the country, we developed one solution: A universal "platform" of spaces that is adaptable, scalable, and flexible in order to meet changing and future needs, demographics, and care models.