Excerpt from Medical Construction & Design
BOSTON, MA – Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s newly opened Ambulatory Care Center is poised to make a meaningful impact on the delivery of care in the MetroWest area. Designed by E4H Environments for Health Architecture, the facility’s innovative use of space addresses current challenges in healthcare delivery, including the burgeoning physician shortage, affordability and access to care. The center, which opened in late 2016, utilizes the ambulatory hub model, which features team-based care, greater efficiencies, and maximum convenience for patients and enhanced collaboration among caregivers.
A shortfall of primary care physicians between 12,500 and 31,100 is expected by 2025, according to a report released last year by the Association of American Medical Colleges. To address this concern and enable an expansion of the care delivery team as a whole, E4H used Smart Facility Design to create a better workflow using a comparable amount of square footage as the previous location of physician offices. With these improved efficiencies, the center is able to accommodate a greater number of providers and has already added eight new PCPs to the Newton-Wellesley team, with more to be added later this year.
The layout provides additional spaces for nurses, nurse practitioners and medical assistants, minimizing the amount of travel needed for members of the care team to confer with one another. The center’s exam rooms surround the core office area, which includes a back function off-stage area for physician assistants, triage within reach for care planning and private in-person conversations. Flow stations are designed to allow PCPs to sit next to a medical assistant, and open up into the exam rooms through an adjacent sliding door. The center also features robust telemedicine resources.
These design initiatives support the evolving healthcare delivery system focus on population health management initiatives, as the industry transitions from fee-for-service reimbursement to a value-based payment health model. With this shift, healthcare providers will be better able to focus on overall health, including high-risk patient management programs, integration of behavioral health services and anticipated increases in virtual and e-health visits. Unlike urgent care centers that address episodic care, ambulatory care centers are designed to manage care in an evidence-based, coordinated way that supports better health outcomes over the long term. The ambulatory care model also provides the kind of flexibility needed to adapt to these changes over time.