Thursday, 10 October 2013

PLANNING OF A HEALTHCARE FACILITY

Healthcare delivery has evolved from an erstwhile insulated physician – patient setup involved in the treatment of specific ailment/disease into its present form which is essentially hospital based. The complexities of such a hospital based multi- disciplinary, integrated and comprehensive healthcare delivery system demands that the physical facilities of hospitals are designed scientifically. Rising costs of healthcare, increasing “ consumer ’’ awareness , quality consciousness and increase in number of specialties , each with their specific design needs, requires healthcare planners and managers to involve themselves actively in planning physical facilities of hospital along with architects/ Hospital planning team.

Scientifically planned, aesthetically designed and appropriately equipped hospitals have become the strategic need for any organization or community. The realization of this strategic imperative requires inputs from a number of knowledge based streams. The participation of Doctors, Engineers, Architects, Town Planners, Equipment Manufacturers and Lawyers are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Comprehensive planning and designing of facilities justify the involvement of a large number of specialists from different fields.

Rapid advancements in technology, especially in diagnostics and surgical procedures, require the planning of health facilities be flexible. This ensures that future expansions/ alterations are cost effective and can be done with least disturbance to day to day operations. Flexibility would make it possible for new additions to be functionally dovetailed to the existing facilities.

The intangible benefits of healthcare facility planning are numerous and remain difficult to measure. Client and staff satisfaction, communication, facilitation, efficiency of processes and quality of care are just some of the intangibles that benefit from scientific facilities. This facet is further compromised by the need for cost containment and cost awareness a balanced perspective therefore seems the most desirable outcome.

The urgent need for planners of healthcare facilities to evolve planning protocols based on pragmatic, feasible and cost effective paradigms cannot be emphasized enough. Our country can ill afford a large expenditure on healthcare facilities, which subsequently fail into disuse or remain underutilized for a plethora of reasons.

Contemporary medical care facilities world over seem challenged by certain common contentious and threatening issues. Cost of medical care, dehumanization of care, ,highly evolving technology, exorbitant equity, accessibility and social conscience are some issues demanding immediate attention of planners. A common theme which seem to link all stakeholders relate to the healthcare facility, its plan, its design, its ability to support and sustain the care delivery and its contribution to cost, efficiency and quality.  

Dr. (Brig) Anil Pandit
Professor- MBA (HHM)

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