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Hospital Construction Methods Lower Costs, Raise Benefits

Kevin Kraiss, for HealthLeaders Media, March 25, 2011

Although the ultimate fate of healthcare reform remains in doubt, at least one thing appears certain: providers will need to reduce costs, maximize efficiency, and defend and expand their market shares to remain competitive–all while continuing to deliver accountable, high-quality care. That’s a tall order, and it affects every aspect of organizational strategy, including facilities.

Fortunately, advances in design and construction methods are enabling many hospitals and health systems to deliver high-quality new facilities faster and at a lower cost. One system in the Pacific Northwest, for example, is leveraging these techniques right now to construct multiple new facilities in one-third less time and for one-third less money than if it used traditional project delivery methods.

Some of these techniques are relatively new, while others have existed for decades. But they are all finding increasing acceptance as healthcare providers look to the design and construction industry to help them more cost-effectively deliver quality care in this era of healthcare reform.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these innovations and how healthcare providers can benefit.

Integrated Project Delivery

Integration is a buzzword these days as healthcare reform has compelled hospitals to forge closer bonds with physicians in an effort to streamline the delivery of high-quality, high-volume, cost-effective care. Likewise, integration can also enhance development efforts.

The integrated project delivery method was initially developed in the mid-1990s and is still evolving, so definitions vary. However, IPD can be defined as a system that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that facilitates collaboration and information sharing throughout the facilities design and construction process, resulting in greater efficiency and superior results. The three primary participants in the IPD process are usually the client, architect and contractor, although consultants, subcontractors, suppliers and other stakeholders often also participate.

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