Location, location, location!

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

Any time there’s a shift in focus when it comes to healthcare leadership, I like to ponder how it might end up impacting the management of the physical environment (admittedly, to a fair degree it’s a little self-serving, but…), so the recent attentions being paid to health care equity (https://www.jointcommission.org/our-priorities/health-care-equity/accreditation-standards-and-resource-center/) made me think a little bit about how this might tie across. Recognizing that improving health care equity, while being an absolute moral imperative, is also a rather enormous undertaking (insert image of consuming an elephant), I was thinking that the baseline for folks being able to access quality health care is exactly that—access.

Certainly, in this age of larger healthcare organizations acquiring physician practices, as well as the proliferation of the time honored “doc in a box” urgent care, being present in the community in which you are providing services is a big part of doing business and, I suppose, there’s no reason to think that that’s going to change any time soon (is it possible to reach a point of market saturation? I dunno).

To that end, I’m thinking that there is a fair likelihood that facilities professionals will be charged in ever increasing measure with the management of real estate as a function of establishing a presence in community areas that are traditionally under-served. And, as it should happen, in some of those areas there might just be some retail spaces that are no longer in active use—perhaps that will be the next frontier for healthcare.

So, if you should find yourself embracing that notion, I think this recent article in Healthcare Facilities Today (https://www.healthcarefacilitiestoday.com/posts/Converting-Retail-Spaces-into-Healthcare-Facilities--28217 ) should give you a lot of food for thought. The article’s author, Mike Wood, makes a good point in the role that consumers can have (and, I think, probably will) in how and where they want to get their healthcare. And with the increasing availability of incredible technologies, I think receiving healthcare as close to home as possible may be what makes or breaks the notion of access, and perhaps equity. Should be an interesting time for healthcare…

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.