- The 38th annual Modern Healthcare Construction & Design Survey found that despite the change in political winds around health insurance, designers and contractors still have a positive outlook on the future of healthcare construction.
- All but one participant in the survey predicted that there would be growth in the sector, from "slow but steady" to "strong," particularly in the outpatient and retail clinic segments.
- Although respondents expressed general confidence in healthcare construction, the factors they said could hinder demand were high insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, changes in payment structure and the rising popularity of mobile healthcare solutions.
Despite the optimism, respondents are waiting to see what the final result will be of President Donald Trump's healthcare reform. The Republicans' new plan as-is, according to the Congressional Budget Office, could leave up to 24 million without insurance by 2026, a fact that could significantly influence future demand for new facilities.
Nevertheless, building smaller facilities is a trend that will most likely not be reversed, no matter what healthcare policy and insurance plans look like in the future. One reason is the building code and other construction requirements for the smaller clinics are far less detailed — and costly — than they are for full-service hospitals.
In fact, consumer demand for smaller facilities located in more convenient locations was evident in a December 2015 Accenture report, which predicted there would be more than 2,800 in-store clinics — such as in Walgreens or CVS — operational by the end of this year, a 47% increase from 2014.
While it's true that much of the trend toward these smaller outlets was driven by the Affordable Care Act, some experts have also attributed the shift to millennials, who value convenience and on-demand options so much so that healthcare companies are exploring more options that can be performed at home, like certain testing procedures.