Building Hospitals that Address Patient’s Needs
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Building Hospitals that Address Patient’s Needs

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Sofía Garduño By Sofía Garduño | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 02/15/2023 - 13:09

Digitalization is allowing hospital infrastructure to increase efficiency and improve the quality of care, disrupting the way hospitals are being built and managed. Adapting infrastructure to the new needs of the patient will allow hospitals to become “smart,” helping them to improve healthcare, increase security and optimize the use of resources. 


"The future is a universal healthcare system not limited by walls,” says Briseyda Reséndiz, President, Mexican Society of Architects Specialized in Healthcare (SMAES). Health infrastructure is critical to society as it provides the necessary foundation for all health services. The spaces in which patients are treated determine the experience, cost and results of health interventions. For this reason, hospital infrastructure has to boost the continuous evolution of healthcare trends. 


However, hospital infrastructure is undergoing rapid disruptions as it adapts to digitalization, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), telemedicine and AI, among other technologies. Leveraging the benefits of these tools will allow hospitals to improve patient outcomes. New concepts to address the continuous changes linked to hospital infrastructure are rapidly arising. "'Hacking hospitals' is a concept that is redefining the preconceptions we have of a hospital,” says Bernardo Altamirano, Director General, Mexican Hospital Group. This trend calls for the need to separate and redefine all the components of the hospital model to successfully redesign them, he adds. 


However, Mexico has many challenges to overcome before its healthcare system aligns with key trends in hospital infrastructure. As of April 2022, hospital infrastructure in Mexico encompassed around 3,655 hospitals, almost 154,000 beds and roughly 6,800 across the country, as reported by Statista. "We have two different realities in Mexico. In the public sector, patients suffer from lack of services and adequate infrastructure, which is becoming a crisis,” says Jorge Cabrera, Partner and Director, Cabrera & Consultores en Estrategia y Riesgos.  The lack of resources is an obstacle to the introduction of innovation to Mexican hospital infrastructure. “Creativity in financing is still needed to support access to health. By having financing options, there can be more innovation in infrastructure,” explains Altamirano. 


Other challenges include reluctance from many players to adopt the changes, as they deem them too complex or expensive. These obstacles hinder the deployment of new strategies that can improve the patient’s experience and the operations of the healthcare system. 


Changes to hospital models could help healthcare workers turn their attention to overlooked populations, such as seniors. “The needs of the elderly are not being addressed by hospitals, for example, mobility is not being prioritized despite being vital for the well-being of this segment of the population. All of these factors impact their experience when using the system and its quality,” says Luis Miguel Gutiérrez, Level 3 Researcher SNI, National Institute of Geriatrics (INGER). 


These problems are limited to Mexican hospitals. “The crisis of the health system is not exclusive to Mexico. The lack of efficiency is related to the emergency space and the over-saturation of these services in an increasingly dense and violent environment,” explains Gutiérrez.


For hospital infrastructure to become a catalyst for improving the delivery of healthcare services, medical institutions have to follow evidence-based designs, according to Reséndiz. "We should never forget that we must build a system for humans, with humanity and helped by the humanities,” she explains. 


Strengthening legislation and regulation regarding digitalization is also essential to boost innovation. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is also urgent to achieve the goal of providing universal healthcare coverage. “One of the most important aspects is that these technologies must allow a change in the industry and turn it into an opportunity to generate economies of scale,” says Cabrera. 


“Work has been done in Mexico to improve and maintain the infrastructure of the country’s hospitals, clinics and health centers. Whether it is a case of modernizing old hospitals or bringing new ones up to standard, the aim is to improve the quality of health services by replacing obsolete equipment and purchasing new devices,” writes Guillaume Copart, Founder and CEO, Global Health Intelligence, on MBN

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