Investing into Infrastructures for Health Care
Health care infrastructure is the combination of individuals, facilities, and buildings needed to deliver high-quality health care. The fundamental components comprising delivery of basic hospital services, including structural and maintenance requirements, are included in this complex term. These definitions, however, vary depending on the professional lens through which they are viewed. In the case of architects and engineers, health care infrastructure can be defined as buildings and systems that provide health care services, while for health care executives, it may refer to the people providing health services and the processes used to do so. In a perfect world, health care infrastructure would include each of these characteristics, requiring experts from various fields as well as facilities and support to deliver the care.
The maintenance of existing facilities and the acquisition of new technology to provide patients and staff with an adequate hospital standard contribute just as much to the efficacy of the health care infrastructure as any of the above factors. However, hospitals play a vital role in providing proper health care and have become a major contributor to the health care infrastructure in the U.S. A problem at hand is that the C-Suite does not understand the seriousness of the decision they made to postpone maintenance, which will ultimately result in unaffordable health care costs. Unfortunately, the C-Suite selects a recurring choice that ignores the importance of upgrading existing hospital facilities. For the C-Suite not to misallocate financial resources, they must scrutinize the materials needed to modernize and maintain the health care setting adequately.
However, even though hospital occupants should have access to the latest technology, purchasing capacity is limited due to financial constraints. Therefore, maintenance facilities often come in second place when compared to technologies that produce direct returns on investment (ROI). Due to the marked return on investment (ROI) associated with MRI units, for example, they can be considered the better investment over maintenance facilities. As a result, MRI maintenance is prioritized over simpler maintenance of items like air-handling units (AHUs) or boilers. An AHU’s value can only be seen when it fails, causing cross-contamination and surgical cancellations, and its ROI surpasses the ROI of an MRI by a great deal.
As a result of lack of funding, it has become impossible to maintain stagnating hospital facilities, known as deferred maintenance. Patients and staff are unable to access adequate health care due to budget constraints. Health care costs in the United States continue to rise as a result of this problem. Today, Americans from both rural and urban areas struggle with limited access to the latest technological developments, as well as exposure to setbacks associated with non-reliable clinical settings and deferred maintenance.
Additionally, the physical surroundings, as well as the facilities that make up the environment, are often overlooked in creating an effective space for clinicians. As an extension of the clinical team, the physical environment within a hospital setting should be taken into account. A favorable physical environment is also necessary to ensure an optimal health care infrastructure, in much the same way that the engineering team saves staff time and thereby enhances outcomes.
An analysis of Age of Plant statistics demonstrates that modernizing U.S. healthcare infrastructure is particularly necessary. As a measure of how well a hospital maintains its facilities, AoP is not a direct indicator of physical age. Calculated by combining accumulated depreciation and depreciation expense. The U.S. health care infrastructure is notably outdated, as illustrated by The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE), with U.S. hospitals’ median age ranging between 8.4 years in 1994 and almost 10 years in 2004. Facilities must be maintained at a modernized level to prevent this trend from continuing. When this is not done, we risk rendering hospital infrastructure obsolete, which is detrimental to hospital occupants and ultimately increases expenditures.
When clinicians are faced with an emergency, allocating funds to maintenance facilities has become especially important. Purchases of UV lights, adjunct filtration systems, or even utilizing non-patient care space for surges all affect the health care physical environment and can add additional strain to the hospital system. In some cases, these systems may not function as advertised unless a proper engineering assessment is conducted before their implementation.
Because of outdated regulations, facilities are still using outdated technology. We need modern facilities so that we can provide the best possible care. A lack of updated regulations has caused many facilities to fall behind on technology. Federal programs such as Medicare/Medicaid, for example, require hospitals to meet standards developed over a decade ago, even though more recent standards have been published. These federal programs included standards for guidance on surges, weather events, hostile incidents, and new technology. Health care facilities in the United States are approximately 391 billion dollars behind the standard of acceptable health care infrastructure. To put it simply, health care officials and policymakers should be investing this much in facilities.
In healthcare devices, edge computing is a game-changer.
Several edge computing technologies are being used to improve health care delivery, such as wearable healthcare devices and health monitors in general. As a result of the faster delivery, healthcare professionals and caregivers can receive alerts faster, which will allow them to attend to patients according to schedule. For surgery, robots can analyze data faster, resulting in safer, more accurate, and faster surgical assistance.
The infrastructure environment and patient outcomes could be significantly improved by prioritizing facilities in need of change. In hospitals, proactive maintenance, which resolves maintenance issues before they manifest in unexpected and sometimes devastating ways, can reduce energy expenditure, prevent equipment malfunctions, and prevent the substantial costs of medical emergencies caused by equipment failures. When hospitals are funded for their facility maintenance, the immense benefits are immediately recognized.
Boosting efficiency and lowering costs by outsourcing infrastructure services
To respond to emergencies, infrastructure engineers must constantly research anomalous activities they observe on the network and make technical adjustments. To accomplish this, a wide range of high-tech equipment is necessary. In the long run, outsourcing infrastructure services could prove to be a very cost-effective and attractive proposition. The companies that offer outsourced infrastructure support can receive fees from their clients for the expensive technology they purchased.