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Marketing ‘microhospitals’


Next in hospital marketing? Mobile microhospitals?

Ron Shinkman writes in FierceHealthcare about the rise of microhospitals and even “bedless hospitals” as hospitals “spin off specialty lines designed to serve certain niches of patients.” We at Cambridge Management  Group have been commenting on these phenomena  — so  indicative of the intense  economic and clinical changes, and  near-chaos, in America’s healthcare “system” in 2016.

So {p]erhaps “2016 could be called the year of the microhospital,”  which have only a few beds and are usually built in an urban or suburban areas

“Those services are not only more convenient for patients, but they also aim to cut the overhead expenses of hospital operators. For example, it is a lot less expensive to operate a microhospital than a major teaching facility,” Mr. Shinkman writes.

“And rather than fragmenting services, organizations that offer … specialty service lines also find it helps to blur the lines between acute care and urgent care, the latter being not only more difficult to market but often subject to lower reimbursement rates than typical hospital inpatient rates.”

“Some industry observers also see them as an alternative to urgent care facilities, a concept that can be more challenging to market to patients than an actual hospital.”

And, Mr. Shinkman adds: “If a minihospital or standalone ER doesn’t cut it, how about a hospital without beds? That’s another service line that appeared to take flight in 2016.”

“Bedless hospitals provide many of the same services as regular hospitals, including an emergency room, infusion services and sometimes even helipads. But patients do not stay overnight. Experts believe patients at these facilities get similar care to what they would receive at regular hospitals, but with a lower risk of contracting infections.”

But can a “bedless hospital” really be called a ”hospital”? The triumph of medical marketing?

To read all of Mr. Shinkman’s piece, please hit this link.

The rise of the ‘microhospital’


The next generation of microhospitals?

“Microhospitals” seem  destined to play an increasingly important role in healthcare.

Michael Slubowski, the president and CEO of SCL Health, a faith-based nonprofit system in Colorado, has as good a description of them as any we’ve seen. His system is in a joint venture with Texas-based Emerus to build several microhospitals. Emerus will provide management services for SCL at these new facilities.

Mr. Slubowski says the microhospitals are two- to three-story buildings in the 35,000- to 45,000-square-foot range that “offer a pretty wide range of services in a small, neighborhood setting. They include emergency medical care, inpatient care, eight licensed inpatient beds, and a diverse range of services like surgery …two state-of-the-art operating rooms in each of the facilities. They also have on-site laboratory and radiology services, including CT, and they’re designed to bring advanced medical care closer to where people live.”

Hospitals & Health Networks asked him why his system would build microhospitals rather than urgent-care clinics or regular hospitals.

He  answered: “Building a full-service, acute care hospital is extremely complex and expensive. We’re also in a market that has a fair amount of inpatient capacity. So, the idea for these is that they’re able to provide access points, and while they’re priced higher than an urgent care center, they’re also able to care for a wider range of illnesses and injuries because of the inpatient capability. They are also priced less than a full-service hospital emergency center or inpatient facility, so it’s sort of a middle price point, as well as a range of services. We can accommodate, for example, patients with acute abdominal pain, bladder infections, chest pain and heart attacks, dehydration, pneumonia, seizures, sprained and broken bones, lacerations and minor trauma. For people who need short-stay admissions, for observation care or things like antibiotic therapy where they need to be in a bed, we can provide those services as well. Doing these kinds of things as one-offs doesn’t make sense. It needs to be integrated into your continuum of care….”

He added that microhospitals are more suited for large  metro areas than rural areas.

To read the interview with Mr. Slubowski, please hit this link.


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