Bringing Rural Healthcare to the 21st Century

Often times the spotlight in the healthcare industry is pointed towards larger urban facilities such as emergency care centers and major hospitals, while smaller rural facilities are getting left in the dust. Yet many of these rural communities are composed of an increasingly aging population with a growing number of residents who have chronic illnesses and special needs. People who need access to high-quality care. When we ask those who run these critical access hospitals what they'd like to change, we get a very long list; ranging from more staff and better service line offerings, to rooms wired for new technologies. The necessity for better rural healthcare is apparent, but not so easily remedied. What can we as architects do to help these critical access hospitals modernize their care? Let's find out!

Adaptable Clinic Spaces

The limited number of working healthcare providers in underserved areas influences the need for standard design and universal room modules in clinical layouts. (i.e. exam rooms that are assigned for primary care that also support urgent care overflow as needed.) Clinic design must also be flexible for changing regulations, services, and fluctuating patient volumes. Universal rooms are capable of shifting between purposes as service demands change. Design standards also help providers jumping between locations. Ensuring each facility organizes the patient and provider areas with similar dimensions, casework and furnishings, and equipment. This makes rural healthcare facilities run much smoother and more efficiently, which in turn increases patient satisfaction, staff wellness, and revenue for your facility.

Maximizing Staff Connectivity

Rural facilities are often run with minimal staff who may need to move easily between greeting people as they arrive, providing patient care, and coordinating with one another. To ease this process, consider planning departments around centralized workspaces. Circulation that connects staff work areas with adjacent clinical space is also helpful. The planning should include a central core support area with connection to the clinician zone without interruption from public circulation.  

Designing Better Rural Healthcare

Whether it's designing a replacement hospital, new clinic or renovating existing ones, rural healthcare across the country is feeling the need for a change. And with the proper knowledge, planning, and the right team of people, these changes can finally become a reality. Are you ready for a change? Get in touch with CMBA today!

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