February 15, 2019
The conversation surrounding healthcare villages, and how these developments can act as enablers to help healthcare providers execute a population health strategy, has significantly increased over the last 24 months.
With the increased discussion comes several underlying, fundamental questions – what is the primary purpose of the healthcare village? What is its value proposition – is it to build a healthier community; is it to revitalize medical infrastructure so that it’s more appropriate for population health?
Actually, it’s all of the above. Simplistically, the purpose of a healthcare village is to enable healthcare providers, and their related partners, to achieve a population health strategy that delivers on the providers’ triple aim – right care, right cost, and right location.
As for return on investment, there’s a social return, besides the economic benefit, that’s being observed as the number of projects slowly increases. From a strategic perspective, the hospitals and health systems that are taking a more progressive, innovative approach are developing their services and strategies to produce measurable improvements in the health status of the communities that they serve.
As one looks at the wellbeing of people, traditional care has only accounted for approximately 20 percent of that. As the healthcare industry moves more fully into financial accountability, it will need to consider much more broadly the psychosocial impacts that need to be made to impact people’s well-being – mentally, physically, and nutritionally. In short, it’s the visionary healthcare provider determined to find the partners, who, together, will make this concept work for their community.
Healthcare villages are about a future-state population health environment, and it is important to note that the environment is not only about bricks and mortar. The villages are an integral component in strategic service-line integration as an emerging future-state operating model, in which more traditional services such as ambulatory operating centers, free-standing radiology imaging, and lab will become integrated with more of the non-traditional services of wellness, fitness, and integrative medicine via the use of technology.
Further, future-state healthcare is moving out of the hospital, to ambulatory sites of care, and finally to the home. Healthcare partners in the technology field view their evolving partnerships with providers as another critical step in the overall benefit and success of this operating model, with healthcare villages serving as the transformation model to this third step of bringing care in-home.
A solid, well-planned population health strategy also reaps economic benefits for stakeholders, both public and private.
Other benefits of enabling a population health strategy include:
- The creation of innovative partnerships between developers, retailers, and healthcare providers enable healthcare-anchored, mixed-use (live, work, learn, play) developments that enhance providers’ triple-aim goals and anchor sustainable neighborhoods.
- The transformed healthcare infrastructure enables healthier communities, reduces cost of care, and leverages healthcare resources across the continuum of care.
- Increased real estate values and access to more attractive financing through integration of healthcare, retail, wellness, education, housing and other complementary uses create a destination site to draw consumers from a wider geographic area.
- Collaboration between public and private parties can revitalize a stagnant, underserved geographic area and be the catalyst for significant economic growth. The economic impact can be threefold: direct and indirect employment, retail, and housing growth.
- Surplus land can be repositioned for increased value, while adjacent land beyond primary intended use can be positioned for complementary workable mixed-use, directly benefiting customers and stakeholders’ economic positions.
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