Sunday, February 3, 2013

Hospital Beds: The Antiquated Metric

There was a time when the military was the role model for waste and backwards thinking, but in the last 15 years, the US military became a role model for lean optimization and innovative thinking. This new $451M healthcare facility at Camp Pendleton is an example-- only 62 hospital beds. Why? Because the whole motive of healthcare should be to keep patients out of the hospital with preventive care, and when necessary, treat them at home and in clinics. The military gets that. Says Lt Cmdr Stephen Padhi, "People always ask me, 'How many beds do you have?' That's an antiquated question." 

There are boatloads of commercial healthcare executives who, over the past 5-10 years, have continued to build giant "five star resort" hospitals, shrines to themselves and their outdated thinking. The railway executives in the early 1900s did the same thing with grandiose railroad stations that are now mostly museums, as the center of transportation in America shifted to the automobile and airplane.

Hospitals are not going to be the center of care in the future; hospital beds and inpatient treatment will be bought and sold as commodities on the stock exchange, while the center of care moves to ambulatory clinics and the patient's home.

Way to go Navy.  And that's from an Air Force guy.  :-)

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