A Post-Pandemic Framework for Flexibility & Future-Proofing Ambulatory Care

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When most ambulatory care and surgery centers shut down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of this care delivery was drastically reduced—with an equally drastic reduction in revenue. Elective procedures were canceled and primary care visits reduced, especially for immunocompromised patients (cancer, transplant, dialysis). In many cases, the nurses and medical professionals who work at these facilities have been furloughed or transferred to alternative testing or care sites. 

The healthcare industry has embraced innovation and adapted quickly to the pandemic: one area of particular note is the accelerated adoption of telemedicine. But there is still the next challenge of what ambulatory care facilities must do to be ready and operable during a re-surge in COVID cases, or other unforeseen pandemics. A surge in elective procedures is expected post-COVID, even as patients remain anxious about resuming visits to healthcare facilities. Ambulatory sites must respond in a way that makes patients feel comfortable returning to the ‘new normal’ of healthcare.

We convened an integrated group of planning, design, and engineering professionals to study the future of ambulatory care, and to develop a framework for post-pandemic design that may offer providers more flexibility to respond to potential shocks. The goal was to compile knowledge and lessons learned and formulate concepts that can be applied as long-term design solutions for new construction and major renovations. The proposed strategies address process and facility modifications. While we understand that there is no one size fits all fix, we will continue to research, innovate, and share our ideas and design solutions to support our clients’ unique and evolving needs for the future.

The strategies suggested are potential concepts and solutions. We present them as opportunities to start a conversation and to help frame decisions as the industry determines the path forward.

Download the complete Post-Pandemic Framework for Ambulatory Facilities