Recently, a report released by the the Joint Commission reviewed the
present state of hospitals and subsequently provided guidelines on principles and actions for hospitals to subscribe to, so as
to enable them in meeting the challenges put forth by the dynamics of the
changing patient needs.
Over the past couple of years the medical industry
has witnessed an increase in the number of older and sicker patients,
expectations vis-a-vis patient safety and quality of patient care has
grown big, in addition, the economics and the work force policies have
assumed greater significance in the wake of the worldwide economic
The report titled “Health Care at the Crossroads: Guiding Principles
for the Development of the Hospital of the Future,” which can be found
at the Joint Commission Website
, identifies 5 key areas that hospitals need to work on.
The Economic Feasibility
This is a crucial consideration because, while some hospital are quite profitable, other aren't. Hence hospitals can benefit by
- Linking performance and payment systems so as to ensure quality and efficiency of service rendered.
- Process improvement tools can be adopted to curtail costs and improve efficiency.
- Improvements in patient access and affordability of healthcare services may be augmented using patient coverage.
Infusion of Technology
- The role of general acute hospitals including specialty hospitals need to be assessed to improve healthcare delivery
Judicious application of information technology can be effective in improving healthcare quality and safety.
- Options for sustainable funding supporting generous adoption of health information technology need to be explored.
- Review and revision of business as well as care processes to align them with healthcare IT is needed.
- Adoption of information technology may be used to support
patient-oriented hospital care. In addition, they need to seek reliable
technology assessment and technology investment guidance for the
Provide Patient-Oriented Healthcare
The prime stakeholders of healthcare services of hospitals are the
patients. As long as patients believe in healthcare provided by
hospitals and are happy, they wouldn't need to switch.
- Prioritize adoption of patient-centered care values.
- Include patient-centered care principles in to the practices of hospital oversight bodies and promote transparency.
- Attend to literacy and personal and cultural preferences of
patients, in addition to other obstacles barriers to patient and family
- Remove disparities in the healthcare quality between minorities, aged, poor, etc.
Deficient supply of healthcare staff shortages is a stark reality. But
this needs to be addressed for ensuring preparedness for the future.
- Implement fair equitable migration and compensation policies for nations confronting healthcare staff workers.
- Increase healthcare professional education capacity to meet the
demand. Include development of professional knowledge for a
sophisticated healthcare environment.
- Attractive workplace cultures can help retain healthcare workers
Enhanced Hospital Design
- Encourage team-based care and develop skills to care for geriatric patients.
This is an important consideration because hospital design has been
found to directly affect patient safety and hence make or mar
- Incorporate evidence-based design principles viz. single rooms, noise-reducing materials
, for patient safety.
- Use environment friendly or “green” principles in design and construction.
- The hospital must include high priority areas such as infection
control, emergency preparedness, etc, as an important consideration in
hospital design and construction
- Evaluate and include views and suggestions from other stakeholders including staff, patients and families in the design process.
Given the fast pace of growth in technology in hospital equipment & supplies
incorporating flexibility in the design becomes a necessity so as to accommodate advances in medicine.
The insightful report has indeed highlighted the areas which are
crucial to the sustainability of hospitals of the future, and
naturally, sooner they are implemented the better it should be.