Imagine a healthcare facility that caters to health emergencies in real-time? A facility that only takes a few minutes from where you are? A hospital with an on-call physician arriving on-time to look after the patients?
They all have one thing in common: Having the right location.
You may think it’s just a plot on the ground, but location essential in setting up or expanding your medical practice successfully.
In the end, the location of your health care facility is where patient satisfaction and medical practice success meet.
So, how important is the location for health care facilities? And how do you pick the right site for your practice? Read on to this article to find out.
The Importance of Location In Health Care Systems
Where you decide to build or expand your healthcare facility location will impact almost every single aspect of its operations. Hence, choose wisely.
Here are some reasons why the location of healthcare systems is EVERYTHING:
It influences patient and customer visibility
Visibility is essential for all hospital and outpatient facilities. If your potential patients encounter any location problems, they’ll get treated somewhere else. If customers can’t find you, you can’t expect any business growth.
Establishments in high-traffic locations usually receive more success than the ones in secluded sites.
It affects your accessibility
Your location’s accessibility is important too. It impacts not only the number of your patients, customers, and employees but also the deliveries you’ll receive and the business partnerships you’ll acquire.
Accessibility also includes having adequate parking spaces, and visitors’ area too. Any space inadequacy can pose a significant backlash in your business operations.
It affects your operating cost
Business operation costs vary on different medical office space locations.
Rent in high-traffic areas is higher compared to rural premises. State and local taxes also add on operating costs.
It decides your manpower options
Choosing a location with a sufficient number of medical professionals should be considered in your decision-making process.
If there aren’t enough qualified practitioners to work for your business, you may experience understaffing issues along with your location problems.
It regulates the state regulations and laws you need to follow
Every state has different healthcare codes, regulations, and laws. Some may or may not be favorable to you. Make sure to consider this factor in your site selection process to ensure that you can adhere to all the necessary legal requirements.
What are the best criteria for facility location?
Here are the factors you need to consider on your health care facility site selection process:
Your healthcare facility type
Understanding the demand of the facility you’re managing is crucial when making a sound decision about your practice.
Patients nowadays have a wide array of health care choices. Some types of medical facilities may not be as in-demand to the population of a certain area.
High-traffic areas are perfect for hospital facilities. Clinics are essential in both urban and rural areas.
Here are the 4 types of health facilities:
- Hospital. This is a 24/7 facility providing short-term care for patients with acute and chronic health issues due to injuries, diseases, or genetic anomalies. Hospitals bring together highly-skilled physicians with different specialties, nursing staff, medical technicians, health administrators, and specialized equipment.
Hospitals are typically located everywhere – from urban cities to regional sites in the rural areas. Depending on the diagnosis, a hospital may refer a patient to another nearby health care facility such as an outpatient clinic.
- Outpatient Clinic. An outpatient care clinic can be a primary care clinic, urgent care clinic, test and imaging center, specialized clinic, and community health clinic. Clinicians often provide services like wellness and prevention programs, diagnostic procedures, treatments, and therapies that don’t require overnight hospitalization.
Outpatient clinics are often found near a patient’s home. Those with limited healthcare access often visit the nearest community health clinics.
- Doctor’s Office. This medical facility is typically composed of a medical specialist focusing on a specific type of medicine. Together with a limited number of assistants and nurses, they deliver medical care for patients with acute conditions that don’t need immediate intervention.
- Nursing Home. Nursing homes are designed for patients who need constant medical care without hospitalization.
Although the facility is often associated with seniors who require custodial care, it can serve patients of all ages.
Your target customer
Who is your target patient population? Can you provide quality medical care service while growing your finances?
Do data research on the population statistics in your target location to determine whether it fits your profession and specialty.
Find out also if your target market in your chosen area is growing or declining. Although it’s good to be in a high-traffic area, breaking into a small, growing community is also wise since you don’t have many competitions.
Check the population-professional ratio of your desired areas and analyze which ones have more of your target patient market with less medical competition.
Visibility is important but if there are already high-profile competitions in your desired location, it’s best to find other suitable places.
Put yourself in the shoes of your target patients. Surely, you wouldn’t enjoy the hassle of traveling far to another city to get treated. You would hate it too if the hospital has poor parking access.
The convenience of your desired location to your target patients can encourage them to visit you often and refer you to their family, friends, and acquaintances as well.
Consider when and how patients would visit your practice so you can fit your facility’s structure with their behavior and preferences. Hospitals typically need a location that’s accessible for patients in emergencies.
Consider sharing office space
Shared spaces are often recommended for starting or small-time medical practices. This way, you can minimize your risks and save on operating costs.
Sharing spaces also enables you to personalize your clinic or office and make it more welcoming to patients.
How Technology Can Help
Modern technology has made it possible for your patients and medical staff to solve any location problems associated with your healthcare establishment.
Real-time location services (RTLS) are now available to improve results, speed, efficacy, and patient satisfaction within a healthcare establishment.
The technology is used to find the location of a specific target like a patient, medical personnel, vehicle, product, or equipment. A small remote tag with a unique ID is attached to the target to make its location trackable in real-time.
The ability to track the location of people and assets in real-time and over time reduces potential safety problems, improves the management of assets effectively and efficiently, and boosts patient care without overspending.
Functions of Real-Time Location Services
To assist healthcare companies with any potential location problems, RTLS can help in the following:
- Patients, particularly those with motion impairments, can find their way through your healthcare facility.
- More convenient access to your parking garage and medical rooms.
- Medical staff can easily locate patients and their family members or friends within the establishment.
- Real-time tracking of patient flow.
- Real-time and historical tracking of medical staff, patients, visitors, and assets to provide unique insights into your healthcare operations.
- Streamlining or automation of many healthcare tasks for greater efficiency based on location. Example: routing a follow-up request to a medical staff closest to the concerned area.
- Effective utilization of equipment and efficient work orders.
- Ambulatory patients under care will be tracked properly. Healthcare staff will save more time and resources from searching patients that may walk away unnoticed.
- The tracking device will help the staff provide immediate assistance to patients in emergencies who are unable to call or ring a bell for help. For example, the patient fell down unnoticed and unable to get up.
- The real-time tracking approach can assist the hospital or healthcare facility to track healthcare-associated infections (HAI).
- Staff safety will be promoted, especially those assigned in emergency departments who are prone to violence from patients and visitors under alcohol/drug influence or psychiatric behaviors.
Strategize Your Healthcare Location Now!
Finding solutions to your healthcare location problem?
A strategic approach in choosing a location in a medical practice is necessary to achieve both quality care and business growth.
Make sure to create and follow a certain set of criteria in choosing a strategic location based on your facility type and target patients and customers. Build a solid understanding of your company’s value proposition and use a data-based model in your decision-making.
Once you’ve finalized your site details, you can use the real-time tracking services to assist you in your day-to-day operations. Maximize the use of technology for a more efficient service.
For more helpful tips about healthcare success, check out our insightful blogs here at Digitalis Medical.
What are your insights about location in healthcare? How did you strategize your site selection process?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Ask us any questions about healthcare, and we’ll get back to you the soonest!