45 hospital and healthcare executives outline the hospital of the future

One hundred years from now, hospitals will be nearly unrecognizable as care moves to the outpatient setting and organizations integrate artificial intelligence, telemedicine and other IT applications to care for patients outside the walls of their institution.

Forty-five healthcare executives, including five from hospital C-suites, describe the key trends disrupting the traditional hospital and how institutions can prepare for the future. Regardless of perspective, the key trends arising in their responses time and again include:

• Reserving hospitals for truly acute care patients
• Monitoring patients at home with telemedicine applications
• Retail clinics and the rise of consumerism
• Designing the process for enhanced patient experience
• Collaboration between all stakeholders to improve health

Here is what 45 healthcare executives had to say about the hospital of the future. Responses are organized by category — hospital CEOs and executives, physicians, health IT leaders, consultants and healthcare firms and organizations — and in alphabetical order within each category.

Responses have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

Hospital CEOs & executives

David Bradshaw. Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Memorial Hermann (Houston): "For decades, healthcare institutions operated under the assumption that people who are sick or injured should be seen by a physician in a clinic or at the bedside in the hospital, but there's been a dramatic shift in recent years that's upending the way traditional hospital systems think about patient care.

The health sector is finally catching up to other industries, like retail and finance, that long ago began to reshape their business models to answer consumers' demands for convenient digital tools that give them quick and easy access to what they need when they need it.

The hospital of the future won't be a hospital at all in the traditional sense, but rather a coordinated and expansive approach to delivering healthcare in innovative ways at our patients' fingertips.

At Memorial Hermann, which has always been a pioneer in this industry, we've been working to come up with creative solutions and resources to help empower people to manage their health and well-being without ever stepping foot in a doctor's office — think of the hospital as the hub for a region's population health management.

Earlier this year, we launched a platform called Everyday Well, a suite of digital tools and services that expands access to primary care in a way that is convenient and simple for our patients — our storefront in the cyber world. Instead of making trips to a clinic, patients can consult with their doctors via a video link. Online nurse navigators are available to field questions and offer advice, and we are piloting a program in a nearby suburb where nurse practitioners are making house calls to sick and injured children.

Lab results and medical records are instantly available via an online portal, where patients can also schedule appointments, pay their bills and even message their physicians directly. For patients who do have to come to the hospital, we have launched a digital wayfinding app that offers door-to-door directions, right down to helping them find the most convenient parking spot.

The future of healthcare has already begun to take the shape of the retail sector, driven by our patients' desires for on-demand technology that gives them access to the care they need 24/7."

K.C. Donahey. CEO of Oviedo (Fla.) Medical Center: "Hospitals of the future will use advanced technology to deliver an excellent patient experience. At Oviedo Medical Center, we use tools such as MyCare electronic communication boards in patient rooms. These dashboards integrate patients' electronic records and display information such as patient goals, medications, dietary restrictions, scheduled procedures and caregiver history. We want patients to feel comfortable with the care they are receiving and knowledgeable about the treatment and recovery processes. Harnessing innovation allows us to balance 'high tech' with 'high touch' to provide quality care and positive outcomes."

Ann Macner. Vice President of Reinventing Care at Cone Health (Greensboro, N.C.): "The new facility has been designed by the end users — patients and families, guests, employees and providers; they've partnered with architects and builders to create a true patient-centered experience that is safe, effective and value-added.

Patient care areas, including dedicated spaces for family, will provide easy access to information and services. Indoor and outdoor gathering areas provide comfortable spaces for waiting, however the ability to receive information updates through custom applications may make onsite waiting unnecessary.

Work areas feature high-visibility and decentralized collaborative workspaces supporting a team approach to care. Our lean design places services close to entrances and groups common services to improve efficiency. Supplies and work stations are close to patients to minimize waiting and wasted time and effort.

The design also features 'get-away' areas for employees to re-energize throughout the day."

Amy Murphy. Vice President at Carolinas HealthCare System (Charlotte, N.C.): "In the not-so-distant future, no one thinks much about a 'hospital' per se. Even today, consumers don't think of healthcare until they really need it. Our job in the healthcare field should be to have an intense focus on consumers' demands and needs, and that includes making healthcare as easy as possible for them. We must try to fit into their rhythm of life and not the other way around. Easy and convenient care is most often applied to wellness or primary care, but it's also our job to be there for them when they need a high level of care for a chronic condition or cancer. In those times of serious need, we have to make it as comfortable for them as possible by reducing anxiety and providing the highest level of care available for their individual needs. At Carolinas, we work very hard every day to truly understand the needs of our consumers and to evolve to meet those needs now and well into the future."

K. Scott Wester. CEO of Our Lady of the Lake (Baton Rouge, La.): "The hospital of the future is meeting consumers where they are to provide fully integrated services that address holistic health needs from the perspective of the consumer. Technology is a big part of that, but not the only part. For example, we need to make it easier for people to move through the continuum of care. Today at Our Lady of the Lake we're doing that with nurse navigators who work with people that visit urgent care and support their follow-up care needs. All of this is of course supported by data and technology.

The hospital of the future must also evolve to address clear areas of need in the broader health environment, such as the shortage of behavioral health services. Our Lady of the Lake recently created more capacity to support adolescents that need inpatient behavioral healthcare. The extra capacity helps keep more families together in a safe, healing environment rather than having to go out of their community or even the state for this critical service."


Barbara Bergin, MD. Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates (Austin): "Hospitals of the future will hopefully have access to portable medical records from all outside providers. Patients will have a bracelet, card or implant containing all updated medical information. No paperwork required. I frankly don't understand why this isn't available currently?"

Maurice Ferre, MD. CEO and Chairman of Insightec (Tirat Carmel, Israel): "Imagine for a moment that a physician can see inside a patient's body and treat a medical condition without making an incision, and that the patient returns home the same day with no side effects, stitches or long recovery time. The technology exists today to allow surgeons to see in the body and treat a condition while leaving the patient whole. Focused ultrasound waves, guided by MRI, can safely pass through tissue and bone. This is the new scalpel.

In the future, this kind of noninvasive surgery will replace traditional thinking of opening the body. It places the patient in the center of care and holds the potential to safely treat millions of patients. Overall, with no surgical incisions and guided by real-time MR imaging, the risks of bleeding and infections are reduced or eliminated, hospitalization is minimized or avoided altogether and patients can quickly return to their lives."

Laura Forese, MD. Executive Vice President and COO of NewYork-Presbyterian (New York City): "The hospital of the future will leverage advances in medicine and technology to make it easy for patients to access high-quality, innovative care wherever they are, and whenever they need it. The overall focus will be on delivering personalized care with attention to the patient experience.

Today, patients are accustomed to taking time out of their day to visit healthcare providers in person, including for relatively quick visits like check-ups, urgent care and pre-procedure appointments. That will change as hospitals and physicians continue to develop digital health platforms and extend care beyond physical walls. The hospital of the future will use automation where appropriate, freeing up providers to do what they do best: care for patients.

NewYork-Presbyterian, like other leading healthcare systems, is preparing for this shift by developing technology platforms that allow us to make high-quality care more accessible by using research to find ways to lower costs while also improving quality, and by partnering with companies that are doing innovative work in the pharmaceutical, medical device and digital health fields. Our goal will always be quality care, but as in other industries, consumers will expect us to meet their needs."

Richard Heller, MD. Vice President, Clinical Services and National Director of Pediatric Radiology at Radiology Partners (El Segundo, Calif.): "With MACRA and its Quality Payment Program demanding a shift from volume to value, it's important for hospitals to understand the need for new levels of collaboration. Hospitals' future success will depend on their strategic use of departmental partnerships to enhance value.

There's currently a three-part evolution in radiology which will be impactful to hospitals seeking to advance patient care while simultaneously being responsible about resource use. Currently, radiology departments emphasize correctly identifying, interpreting and communicating exam findings in a timely manner. However, radiology departments that are integrating the transition to value-based care are going beyond timely and accurate reports; they're emphasizing partnerships with hospitals and providers to drive value. For example, programs such as best-practice follow-up recommendations limit unnecessary imaging while encouraging those exams that are most likely to be beneficial. This is good for patients and for the system as a whole. Looking towards the future, the next step for radiology is going beyond the imaging exam report and embracing care coordination.

Hospitals of the future will emphasize integrated collaboration strategies to deliver optimized care. As hospital leaders look to form these clinical partnerships, I hope they consider the value that radiology departments can deliver."

Jim Lebret, MD. President of Lebret Consulting and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Clinical Innovation at NYU School of Medicine (New York City): "With the proliferation of devices and rapid rate of technological change, hospitals of the future will be more highly interoperable, in that they won't be wedded to one vendor. Current hospitals may be repurposed as housing — see Mayor Deblasio's [New York City] plan — as the ideal hospital of the future will be the patient's own home, which will be armed with remote monitors and virtual providers."

Dave Levin, MD. Chief Medical Officer for Sansoro Health (Minneapolis): "Two types of hospitals will emerge over time. The super-duper specialty referral hospital will focus on the sickest-of-the-sick and the most complex procedures. It will consist of specialty ICUs and highly advanced procedural rooms staffed 24/7 by hospitalists, intensivists, laborists and a host of other '-ists.' The local community hospital will extend its reach, breaking down the four walls of the traditional healthcare system by delivering services both in person and virtually (via telehealth and other technologies). The care teams, services and delivery mechanisms are already reorganizing to reflect an emphasis on chronic care, prevention, primary care and common procedures.

All of this will be enabled by the next generation of clinical information systems and a profusion of applications that easily exchange data and are smart, mobile, personalized, reliable, secure and user-friendly."

William Maples, MD. Chief Medical Officer for Professional Research Consultants (Omaha, Neb.): "Hospitals of the future will become an integral part of the continuum of care aimed at restoring health for the patients they serve and provide an environment promoting the well-being of patients, physicians, nurses and support staff. There will be continued advances and introduction of technology, however technology will evolve to enhance rather detract from physician-patient-nurse relationships; technology will humanize the care experience. The healthcare team will be equipped with skills to continue the evolution from a physician-centered model to a relationship-centered model with the patient at the center of the team; this will result in addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families throughout the encounter and ensuring the best and correct care after discharge.

At present these issues are either not addressed or are addressed at the very end of an encounter, limiting their effectiveness and jeopardizing safety. Models of care will switch from a hospitalist model to one that better supports the continuum of care and allows for trusting relationships to develop, all of which will improve efficiency and outcomes."

James R. Mault, MD. Senior Vice President and CMO of Qualcomm Life (San Diego): "Today, the practice of medicine is not yet smart. Clinicians traditionally practice a reactive model of care based on episodic snapshots of information and apply trial and error as a universal norm. Healthcare is currently in an ugly predicament. Medicine today is practiced with inadequate near real-time data and lack of insights, creating a patient safety issue.

In fact, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. is medical errors, responsible for more than 250,000 deaths per year. However, this is all changing as significant technological advancements come to fruition, creating a new idea for the future of healthcare. Now, and in the future, hospitals will become more connected and smarter than ever, capable of capturing near real-time data from medical devices across the care continuum. Combining these millions of datasets that are generated hourly with clinically relevant, predictive algorithms is fueling new proactive care models that follow the patient across acuity settings.

In mission critical industries like healthcare, failure is not an option; we need patient data to be secure, reliable and accessible across care settings. Qualcomm Life is working to future-proof hospitals, putting a prioritization on building medical-grade, secure connectivity infrastructures that extend beyond the hospital setting."

Health IT leaders

Russ Cobb. President of Blackbaud Healthcare (Charleston, S.C.): "The hospital of the future is a place that is completely designed around the individual and the preferences of healthcare consumers. Successful healthcare organizations of the future will tailor service delivery models, patient engagement, brand strategies and philanthropic support efforts based on prescriptive and predictive analytics that tell them who key consumers and supporters are as well as how to reach them and how to keep them engaged.
This focus on the individual creates an environment that coincides with the individual needs and behaviors of potential consumers, current patients and donors. Healthcare organizations that thrive will know everything about their market — not only as an aggregate group but down to the individual as well.

Understanding all social, demographic, geographic and behavioral risk factors round out the complete picture of buying preferences and overall health. The hospitals of the future will capitalize on this information and create targeted engagement strategies that maximize these consumer analytics on an ongoing basis."

James Dias. Founder and CEO of Wellbe (Madison, Wis.): "With the proliferation of connected technologies being adopted by consumers, the hospital of the future will develop longitudinal relationships with patients outside of the hospital walls by meeting healthcare consumer expectations for ease and convenience through connected care. Using conversational agents and message bots, providers, patients and their caregivers will be connected throughout the continuum of care beginning from symptom appearance through recovery. Patients are collaborators, driving and shaping their care. Care teams will have analytics and smart tools to track, monitor and intervene when necessary. Many tasks will be automated, freeing skilled clinical professionals to practice at the top of their licenses. Forward-thinking healthcare leaders are beginning to adopt technologies beyond the EHR that enable this kind of future."

Jamey Edwards. Co-Founder and CEO of Cloudbreak Health (Columbus, Ohio): "The hospital of the future will be smaller and more connected. In fact, the definition of a hospital may change entirely as health systems' care networks are extending far beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar walls into the workplace, home or wherever the patient may be. We have already seen new hospitals with fewer inpatient beds and far better technology replacing much larger facilities with older infrastructures. The goal is to create a continuum of care from the hospital bed to the patient's home with telemedicine and other care alternatives pushing towards better health.

Hospitals will be reserved for the most acute patients, while chronic, episodic and low intensity patients will benefit from the continuum of resources emanating around the hospital, through telemedicine technology. Each bed in these new hospitals will be equipped with a connected device that will allow a myriad of remote resources to be brought to the bedside. These telemedicine touchpoints will include enhanced communication, structured collaborations, video medical interpreting, telepsychiatry, telestroke, tele-ICU and other virtual services which will only be the push of a button away."

Mudit Garg. CEO of Qventus (Los Altos, Calif.): "Hospitals today are operating on old technology. The healthcare industry has not kept up with other industries in applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to help inform process improvements. Look at how Tesla has leveraged these technologies to fundamentally change the car upgrade performance experience. Drivers no longer need to buy a new car to improve performance; the system is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to continuously get smarter and perform better.

We're beginning to see this same change in healthcare. That is, we can rely on the same physical infrastructure but provide better and more efficient care. This is going to be largely driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence that puts the millions of data points in the hospital to use — providing actionable insights for hospital team members. As with Tesla, the software will make substantial upgrades to processes without much change to the workflow or the physical infrastructure. In turn, this will provide a more efficient system and a better experience for both staff and patients overall."

Mohan Giridharadas. Founder and CEO of LeanTaaS (Santa Clara, Calif.): "The hospital of the future looks like an airport today — but not in the way you might think. It resembles an airport in that it operates as an optimized network of interconnected services (nodes). To the traveler — the patient — it will be largely seamless and opaque; to the staff, smooth and efficient. At an airport, each node — gate agent, baggage handler, maintenance crew, janitorial staff, flight crew — performs its between-flight duties as efficiently as possible. Such optimization over the years has made it possible for Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport to grow from a few hundred flights a day in the mid-1980s to several thousand flights per day today. This growth occurred without a change in the airspace around Atlanta and only a modest increase in the number of runways (from four to five). At the hospital of the future, appointments, tests, procedures, consultations and treatments all happen with similar precision, with only occasional — rather than daily — delays and hiccups.

Hospitals of the future will be different than hospitals today in that they will combine lean thinking with predictive analytics, machine learning, advanced optimization algorithms and mobile technologies to drive dramatic improvements in their operational efficiencies. This approach has already delivered exceptional results for NewYork-Presbyterian's infusion center: It achieved a 55 percent decrease in patient wait times during peak hours. Similarly, UCHealth has seen a 16 percent increase in the utilization of operating room time when it is released by a surgeon on his/her mobile device through an OpenTable-like interface versus releasing it via phone call, faxes or email.

Hospitals are beginning to understand that traditional approaches to process improvement —lean, Six Sigma or some other methodology — have run their course and, in most cases, only deliver modest improvement considering the enormous resource burden they place on the organization and the months it takes for the impact to be tangible. At this pivotal point in time, forward-thinking hospitals are capitalizing on multiple enabling technologies to drive improvement in operational efficiency that far exceeds anything that we could have imagined to be possible even a few short years ago.

The emergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence; the democratization of predictive analytics from the ivory towers of academic institutions to organizations everywhere; the growth of massively scalable, secure cloud infrastructure; and the ubiquity of smartphones and mobile apps are the tools by which hospitals today will transform themselves into hospitals of the future."

Pam Hepp. Shareholder at Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney specializing in data security, IT, HIPAA and Patient Privacy (Pittsburgh): "Hospitals use social networks to market their services, provide information about new procedures or the addition of new physicians to the staff, conduct patient outreach and provide general patient education, including information about disease prevention and wellness. Some organizations have established blogs to discuss healthcare issues, and others have prepared YouTube videos to provide education in an entertaining and informative way. Many use social media in connection with fundraising campaigns, and one of the most prevalent and successful uses of social media by healthcare organizations is for staff recruitment. Many use such media to provide information about emergency department wait times, and such media can provide a means of communication during a disaster or crisis."

Hyun Lee. Growth Manager at Qminder (London, U.K.): "I think hospitals in the future will be more patient-friendly and experience-oriented. Nowadays things are so hectic and it's incredibly difficult for healthcare professionals to make a personal connection with patients. But at the same time, there are also tools being developed, like Qminder, that save time and hassle from day-to-day activities.

For instance, you'll find that more and more hospitals are moving away from paper-based sign-in sheets to electronic sign-in forms. No more paper; no more hassle of reading and attempting to comprehend bad handwriting; no more organizing piles and piles of paper, all while saving the environment."

Brent Lang. President and CEO of Vocera Communications (San Jose, Calif.): "Imagine a hospital in the not-so-distant future where technology restores human connections and secure, efficient communication is down to a science. Care team members who need to reach a physician to discharge a patient ready to go home or to obtain time-sensitive information to deliver immediate care will be able to do so in one step instead of four. They will do it through Alexa-like voice technology or secure texting using a wearable device or the latest smartphone.

The roadmap to this hospital of the future does not lie with new technology being developed someday — in fact, these innovations in communication are already available. The future of caring is now. It exists when hospitals and health systems adopt and integrate these technologies, and they are leveraged to their fullest potential by nurses, physicians and other members of the care team."

Tim Lynch, PhD. Psychsoft (Quincy, Mass.): "Technology will play a big part in the treatment of patients. Things that we are seeing now, such as virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, even 4K displays, will be pervasive in the hospital of the future. All this will require even more computing power, which we are also seeing now with the new Intel Core X series CPUs, which currently have a 10 Core 20 thread Processor and will go up to an 18 Core36 thread CPU by years end. This is the equivalent of having 36 computers in one processor, so we are seeing supercomputers moving to the desktop now. Of course graphics cards are also becoming more powerful allowing for better resolution and handling of VR and AR."

Curtis McEntire. Director of Performance Services and Optimization at Omnicell (Mountainview, Calif.): "Health systems today recognize the important role technology can play in meeting the challenges of ever-changing regulatory compliance and value-based care initiatives. But they need to be careful not to adopt a 'plug and play' mentality.

Forward-thinking hospitals are developing partnerships with their technology vendors to develop the next advancements in hardware and software solutions and also to develop best-practice models for implementation and optimization. These hospitals are utilizing their key vendors to optimize these systems for their unique needs and align their functions with overall organization objectives. This collaborative partnership aspect will only continue to grow as hospitals seek to drive more efficiency and higher returns out of their technology investments."

Rebecca Metter. CEO of Wambi (Los Angeles): "The hospital of the future is far more consumer-focused than the hospital of today. Hospitals will cater to consumers the way retail currently does, giving consumers more choices when it comes to their care. Hospitals will leverage real-time data, facilitating more informed patient decision-making. These consumer-driven hospitals of the future will offer a smaller, more comfortable, family-friendly environment, especially as telehealth rises in popularity."

Neil Patel. President of Healthbox (Chicago): "Healthbox envisions the hospital of the future comprised of two units: trauma surgery and intensive care. We've known for a long time that the inpatient facility is not a cost-efficient or convenient location for low- to medium-acuity care delivery. However, until the advent of innovative payment models, there was no incentive for health system leaders to lead this change from a catchall to a provider of specific and high-acuity services. One way health systems are preparing is by partnering or building to deliver medical/surgical unit level quality in the home. Facilitating this transition requires both a new mindset for providers and the development and adoption of new technologies. At our latest Healthbox Forum, we invited healthcare leaders from across the industry to discuss this very topic — nearly everyone in attendance was aligned on vision and the biggest question was not if, but when."

David Reitzel. Principal and U.S. Health IT Leader for Grant Thornton (Chicago): "In the digital hospital of the future, patients will experience pre-service connection that explains their clinical and financial responsibilities and allows for a stress-free visit. Patients will be recognized as they walk into a hospital or registration area thanks to real-time location systems and data; payments will be seamless and integrated into mobile applications; and patient satisfaction surveys will be sent electronically upon sharing of the after visit summary."

Amit Srivastav. President of Technology Solutions at Infinite Computer Solutions (Los Gatos, Calif.): "The trend of consulting and treating patients in their homes will continue to increase. Remote consultations and conferences allow the care team, including the family, to connect and collaborate around the care of the patient. Hospitals will be just for acute health episodes, not for end of life care. Data and artificial intelligence will be used to monitor patients and proactively monitor and treat potential complications, and remote and video monitoring of ICU patients will increase.

Hospitals used to be the hub of care; in the future, other entities will increasingly play a bigger role in the care of the patient. Hospitals will have to work differently and closer with skilled nursing facilities and other non-acute care facilities to keep patients out of the hospital. Hospitals should review and update their IT infrastructure and tools to stay agile for the future, and adjust outpatient services to play a different — and larger — role in the care of the patient."

Mike Thoma. Chief Underwriting Officer of Travelers Global Technology (Hartford, Conn): "3D printing has the potential to change the way we produce and deliver physical products, the same way the internet changed the way we interact with information.

Products that formerly took weeks and months to design, prototype and manufacture, now take a matter of minutes, potentially improving a patient's quality of life or even saving lives. 3D printing techniques, including stereolithography and selective laser sintering, are being used to create hearing aids, contact lenses and prosthetics made to an individual patient's exact body shapes and contours, often at a fraction of the cost of a conventional medical device.

Bio printing, an emerging medical technology that allows researchers to fabricate human tissue with 3D printers and a patient's own DNA, may yet prove to be the most disruptive yet welcome technology of the 21st century. Using biodegradable scaffolds, doctors and biomedical engineers hope to print an organ's framework, then inject it with a patient's own living cells in the exact locations where they are most likely to grow naturally, minimizing the risk of rejection. If they are successful, it could dramatically decrease the mortality rate from chronic disease and render patient waiting lists a thing of the past.

Suvas Vajracharya, PhD. Founder and CEO of Lightning Bolt Solutions (San Francisco): "Burnout and the physician shortage are big issues facing healthcare. Learning from this, the hospital of the future will recognize the need for more flexible scheduling. The schedule of the future will have physicians leveraging the peak of their clinical expertise and according to patient demand.

Gone are the 7-on-7-off shifts. Artificial intelligence technologies that can analyze supply and demand patterns will be widely utilized to ensure physicians have better work-life balance and patients have access to care when they need it."

Anders Wold. President and CEO of GE Healthcare's Clinical Care Solutions (Chicago): "The hospital of the future will be smarter, more digital and extend beyond the four walls, making healthcare more personal and accessible. I see four core drivers of change for the hospitals of the future: expanding health data, increasing care mobility, addressing rising costs and making solutions more patient-centered. There has been a lot of innovation in these areas leading the path forward.

Medicine is already becoming increasingly data-focused and predictive with the use of artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms. Data and new devices are enabling doctors to monitor patients' health and even diagnose conditions remotely. We are using mobile cloud-based technologies, such as GE's Vscan Extend™ ultrasound, to put information at a physician's fingertips no matter where their patient is, allowing for faster diagnosis and better disease management. Algorithm Server, a cloud-based electrocardiogram monitoring service, connects patient care at home with patient care in the hospital. While the most acute care will continue to take place inside brick-and-mortar medical facilities, future generations will receive care virtually and participate in their own care to greater degrees."


Eduardo Egea. Healthcare Principal at Stantec (Miami): "The hospital of the future will be humanizing with spaces that provide access to natural light, open areas and landscaping. There will be a deliberate shift from mere functionality and institutionalism towards a synthesis of urban planning and design. Architects will play an important role in making our buildings, streets and neighborhoods influence day-to-day behavior, and directly impact well-being. As a result, the boundaries will blur integrating healing environments throughout our community. The hospital will no longer be just a facility; it will become our ecosystem.

Hospitals will evolve from a complex, fragmented, costly system with variations in the quality of care to a well-organized, managed healthcare system. People will be able to get care from large networks when they need it, where they need it. Their choices will be based on value, performance and reputation.

Hospitals are preparing for an unpredictable future, one in which the patient, not the insurance company, has become the consumer. Hospitals will emulate the tech and hospitality industry, constantly competing for customers by creating new services, new facilities and new products."

Erik Gerard. Principal at Impact Advisors (Naperville, Ill.): "Hospitals today are made up of a wide variety of disparate technologies that often do not communicate with one another. The hospital of the future looks very different. In the future, a hospital's systems will be fully integrated to leverage technologies and create better patient outcomes while reducing the burden on physicians and nurses.

Creating a 'patient observation fabric' can improve hospitals' ability to engage with patients in a timely manner, and in many cases, these technologies can pay for themselves in just a few months.

These patient observation technologies might include: medical device integration, virtual observation, location services, nurse call systems and alarm management. When implemented properly and integrated into clinical workflows, these systems can help hospitals become more efficient and effective, which is becoming more important as healthcare organizations move to reduce costs and produce better results."

Beth Richter. Pharmacy Consultant for ARxIUM (Buffalo Grove, Ill.): "The hospital of the future is plugged in, more connected to the patient and its peers. Also, hospitals will form greater networks that encompass the entire spectrum of patient care. Additionally, staff will be more connected to patient records and patient history, to make more informed treatment decisions. Moreover, staff will also be better connected to advanced clinical technologies to help diagnose and better care for patients.

In many cases, hospitals today have disjointed staff doing tasks that may be redundant or unnecessary due to the lack of connectivity available in their institutions. Once all staff that are caring for patients can seamlessly see all care associated with a patient and interact better with each other, patient outcomes and staff efficiency will improve. Today, hospitals are preparing for these advances, as we see increasing numbers of integrated delivery networks being formed. In addition, technology is being accepted and staff are learning to rely on these systems to help care for their patients."

Kristy Taylor, PhD. Founder of Heka Healthcare Consulting (West Palm Beach, Fla.): "To operate more cost effectively and efficiently, hospitals of the future will embrace more advanced technologies. Telemedicine will become the standard, because these patients-centered hospitals will cater to the demands of their clientele. The number of inpatient hospital rooms will be greatly reduced and replaced with office suites staffed with patient care teams who are focused on outreach, intervention and preventative care.

Patients will call-in instead of physically attending medical appointments, and most former inpatient procedures will now be done in outpatient settings with smaller medical devices; additionally, there will be increased use of lasers and robotics for surgical procedures. Phone and computer applications that conduct bodily scans and monitor vitals will send information directly to doctors and auto-update in a patient's record. A patient concerned about a leg fracture, skin abrasion or frequent headaches can conduct a scan or take a picture with their cell phone and the information will be sent directly to their doctor; they will be able to schedule an appointment and speak with providers via an online connection to receive a diagnosis."

John Wilson. President of HSA PrimeCare (Chicago): "In response to the aging population, innovation in medical technology and the push toward lower cost settings, the hospital of the future will be highly specialized. Facilities will have fewer beds, both on-campus and off-campus. Look for microhospitals in smaller markets and multispecialty buildings that have become critical components to the delivery of care model of the hospital."

Healthcare companies & firms

Jana Anderson. Partner at Foley & Lardner (Jacksonville, Fla.): "Over the last several years, we have seen care transition from inpatient care — often long inpatient stays — to outpatient and physician office procedures. Health systems, not stand-alone hospitals, are the future. I think we are in transition. Care has transitioned and will continue to transition to more outpatient and physician office care. Inpatient hospitals will continue to play a role for complex care, but illness with an inpatient stay is not the norm. Hospitals have acquired physician practices, and the focus is total care for the patient: physician care, outpatient care, inpatient care, long term care, home healthcare and hospice care.

Not all hospitals have the reach to do all aspects of care. Larger systems are acquiring providers, and community hospitals are entering into arrangements with other healthcare providers to create care networks to meet patient needs."

Terry Fulmer. President of the John A. Hartford Foundation (New York City): "Our aging population and the economic imperative to obtain better value from healthcare will shape the evolution of hospitals in profound ways. About 40 percent of hospitalized people are over age 65, despite representing only 14 percent of the population. Patients who are admitted to the hospital will continue to be older and have more complex needs, requiring hospitals to become more age-friendly. With help from a growing movement of clinicians, patient groups and organizations like ours, age-friendly hospitals will be more attuned to what truly matters to the older person and his or her family.

Evidence-based approaches in areas like medication management, mobility and dementia care will become the norm. With hospitals becoming part of larger, more accountable systems, being age-friendly will also mean extending care beyond the four walls of the hospital, even into patients' homes. These hospitals of the future will build partnerships with food delivery systems, Uber-like transportation services and other community services to keep people healthy and out of the hospital in the first place."

Tom Jeffry. Health Care Partner at Arent Fox (Washington, D.C.): "Looking towards the future, hospitals will devote more space and technology to accommodate advances in diagnostics and surgical procedures. New technologies will continue to reduce inpatient admissions as well as the number of days inpatients remain in the hospital. Hospitals will continue to have patient beds, but future hospitals will be more likely to have the same or fewer beds in private rooms that will accommodate more in-room services.

Technologies related to patient records, monitoring and patient-care services will be expanded throughout the hospital, including individual patient rooms. As patient satisfaction and outcomes become key drivers of reimbursement, future hospitals will emphasize improvement of the patient experience by designing hospitals that improve efficiency and reduce the time or need for a patient to be away from their room for tests or therapy. New hospitals will look to designs that improve the aesthetics of their facilities including wait areas and meeting rooms.

Hospitals regularly review and update their capital improvement plans with an eye toward these future trends and projected community need for health services. As technology advances, hospitals reassess how to best utilize those technologies. A rural hospital may focus on expanded telemedicine technologies while a large urban hospital may look to add advanced surgical equipment. Part of the preparation is looking at alternatives to implement those plans through financing, joint ventures with other area providers and fundraising."

Grant Geiger. CEO of EIR Healthcare (New York City): "The hospital of the future will be modularly designed and efficiently implemented. It will incorporate design elements to improve the patient experience as well as clinical workflow and IT utilization. It will use automation and machinery while leveraging skilled labor to deliver the best product possible.

Modular hospitals will revolutionize the industry allowing for the first true medical 'smart room,' incorporating IT systems to assist clinicians with monitoring the patient, treating the patient and overall improving the patient experience. Implementing modular smart rooms has to start with the materials and physical elements — from using products with antibacterial properties to integrating patient-monitoring sensors into the room design — these are just some of the many benefits of modular design. Additional key benefits include an estimated 30 percent cost savings compared to traditional construction, and an estimated 30 to 50 percent reduction in construction time, allowing for the redistribution of funds from construction to human capital, new research and other core functions.

Simply put, with the budget constraints and clinical demands providers face, modular is the future for hospitals."

Si Luo. CEO of PatientSafe Solutions (San Diego): "Hospitals will thrive in a future where patients, their families and caregivers inside and outside of hospital walls are empowered to communicate and collaborate with each other more effectively. Clinicians and providers today rely on multiple devices and systems to provide care and are interrupted as frequently as once every two minutes with alerts and notifications. Each interruption can result in a 12.7 percent increased risk of a medication error.

In hospitals of the future, patients will benefit from a seamless experience provided by a care team that acts as one mind, always having the most up-to-date and contextually relevant information at their fingertips at every point of care so medical errors are uncommon, miscommunication is rare and the care team is coordinated to provide top-quality care for patients. This includes a full continuum of care coordination and communication from pre-admission to long-term care.

To ensure maximum impact of secure communications within hospitals, hospitals need to be passionate about making the experience of care simple and effective, and utilize appropriate IT partners to fill the current gaps."

Joan Moss, RN, MSN. Senior Principal and CNO of Sg2 (Skokie, Ill.): "The health enterprise of the future will not be a place or location. Instead, it will be a patient-centric network of care providers enabled by technology. The focus of the health system will shift from 'footprint' and 'geography' to 'network' and 'connectivity.' Hospitals will be defined by their skill at matching clinical services across the care continuum to consumers' needs and preferences. The ability to forecast healthcare demand across different sites, including virtual encounters, will change how health systems define their markets and set their strategy.

Increasingly, consumer choice and the patient journey will be key to both facility and financial planning. Understanding consumer decision-making has become an essential skill. Virtual care will replace physical visits, both to meet consumer demand and to expand providers' reach. More care will be provided in the home.

Savvy health systems are using future-focused analytical tools to model future demand. Our analytics are projecting a 2 percent decline in discharges over the next decade. As a result, clients are challenging their perceived acute care footprint needs and increasingly reallocating resources to a variety of outpatient and virtual settings."

Santa Ono. President of the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada): "The hospital of the future will integrate design thinking and technology to enhance the patient experience. Attention will be placed on situating collaborating services and departments near each other to minimize intra- and inter-hospital travel. Technology will be used to coordinate scheduling and to better educate the patient about his or her treatment plans. Hospitals of the future will also increasingly benefit from next-generation approaches to predict onset of diseases, permitting personalized medicine."

Andrew Selesnick. Shareholder in Buchalter's Litigation and Health Care Practice Groups (Los Angeles): "The hospital of the future will, on the outside, look similar to what we have today. On the inside, however, it will be much different. Academic centers and well-established hospitals surrounded by large populations will predominately provide treatment for the most complex, difficult and unusual cases, while suburban and community hospitals will handle the management of the follow up, rehabilitation and chronic phases of a patient's condition or disease.

The specialization of hospitals and the physicians who staff them will accelerate. Technology will continue to dominate medical treatment and breakthroughs, and use of telemedicine will increase as hospitals struggle to employ the specialists they need, particularly for rural and community hospitals. As the healthcare model slowly moves away from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based reimbursement, big data will become increasingly important to coordinate the continuum of patient care while simultaneously measuring outcome across a broad spectrum of key indicators."

Munzoor Shaikh. Director in the Healthcare Practices at West Monroe Partners (Chicago): "To understand the hospital of the future, one needs to understand the future healthcare consumer, who thinks of their hospital much like they think about trusted investment brokers or streamlined online shopping experiences. Future hospitals will partner with patients by knowing their preferences, lifestyles, genetic code, geography and financial status. When patients visit the hospital of the future, they will fully understand the clinical reasoning, procedure and the expected out-of-pocket and insured billing costs. Patients will make appointments with a few clicks on mobile apps or websites, and they will check in with electronic appointment cards, much like boarding passes for airlines. Future hospitals will also likely have effective 'command centers' to address patient throughput and eliminate wait times.

Most hospitals tend to focus on reactive or defensive strategies to become the hospital of the future, such as reactively trying to mitigate risk or slowly moving toward value-based care initiatives. In actuality, hospitals should create a targeted, thoughtful brand architecture by asking themselves how they want long-term customers to perceive their brand. Once brand architectures are created, hospitals will enhance patient-provider experiences via more empathetic personas, journey maps and innovative customer programs. These programs might include bundled payment capabilities and culture-appropriate data governance models, which create a platform for unplanned analytics. Hospitals of the future will see analytics as a dynamic need rather than a discrete exercise."

John Thomas. Group Senior Vice President, Innovation and Business Ventures at Vizient (Irving, Texas): "Over the next five to 10 years, I anticipate a broad, transformational human care experience will take place in healthcare. Hospitals will provide a more consumer-oriented experience by transitioning into 'medical malls,' complete with specialized delivery units, wellness centers, outpatient services and retail. As service delivery options expand in a geographically distributed model, it is possible they could become anchor tenants in retail and commercial spaces and no longer have an independent campus.

The patient experience will be very different from what we see today; it will feel more retail-oriented with personalized service centers enhanced with high-tech mobile devices, large screens and voice-activated services. Patient rooms will be personalized to accommodate families and technology. Cognitive computing and AI will process and organize large amounts of data and logistics to deliver predictive and personalized results, providing faster, more effective and efficient experiences for staff and patients. Chatbots will be a mainstream communication medium for patients with clinical staff and physicians.

In the near term, hospitals are developing consumer-centric health services, e.g. retail clinics; interconnected digital platforms connecting patients and a disparate provider community; and assembling large-scale data warehouses utilizing cognitive computing capabilities. Simply put, there is a century of difference between the average hospital and the technological advances available to transform healthcare in the future."

Susie Westrup. Division Manager of Paladino and Company (Seattle): "Hospitals of the future will use their buildings to contribute to patient health. They will embrace wellness-based design with healthy-design features — natural lighting, improved air quality, biophilic elements, views of nature, non-toxic building materials and space intended for movement. The link between patient satisfaction and wellness features has been established, and hospitals of the future will invest wisely into building designs that holistically improve their financial performance.

In the future, we will see more wellness campuses where research, education, healthcare and community connectedness are designed into the master plan."


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