Two weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to present alongside Mary Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of the University of Minnesota Physicians, at the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) 2015 Annual Conference in Nashville. Using the recently completed University of Minnesota Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) as a case study, this session explored how academic medical centers are evolving care-delivery models as they undertake new building or renovation practices, and the underlying culture shift required to be successful in such efforts. The University of Minnesota ACC is a unique facility that pushes several new ideas and will open in Q1 2016. We had a really engaging discussion with a full room of health leaders from across the country, with several referencing other projects where some of these concepts have been successfully implemented – including some of our work with other clients.
I sincerely hope anyone who has an interest is able to see this presentation as we’ll be looking to deliver it at future health conferences. However, I wanted to share five key themes that stand out from the presentation and also guided the conversation at MGMA.
- Looking to other industries for innovation. As a recent article by Quartz magazine discusses at length, University of Minnesota Health took cues from consumer industries as related to optimizing patient transactions, streamlining throughput and processes, and creating memorable, favorable experiences.
- Building for the future by transforming care processes and experience. Healthcare isn’t the only thing that’s changing — workplace design preferences and the concept of the patient experience are both rapidly evolving. The University of Minnesota ACC creates an environment that supports inter-professional team collaboration, new models of office space for providers, and a smooth patient journey from check-in to check-out.
- Leveraging capital investments as opportunities to attract new markets. As health systems increasingly compete for market share and new patients, factors like brand identity and convenience are more important than ever. The new ACC provided University of Minnesota with an opportunity to reinforce both — building upon its image as a top academic institution and offering convenience to consumers at every touchpoint.
- Using technology to your advantage. The critical role of technology in healthcare is two-fold when it comes to building a new facility. First, health systems must consider how technological breakthroughs of today and tomorrow may impact capital investments and sizing requirements (e.g., the rising popularity of virtual visits). Second, they must embrace current technologies as they relate to user experience expectations, as the University of Minnesota did by offering a digital component at nearly every point along the patient continuum.
- Creating a flexible and adaptable building. Perhaps above all else, flexibility and adaptability are essential when designing a new healthcare space. For the University of Minnesota ACC, replacing private physician offices with 200+ “touchdown” areas helps keep spaces flexible, and adopting modular layouts and universal floors plans will allow the building to meet tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s.