The way we receive medical care is changing. Care that used to be provided in a hospital is more and more often provided in a clinic or outpatient facility instead. We’re also seeing a rise in chronic conditions that need early diagnosis and continual monitoring to treat successfully.
The future of healthcare is available now. And as clinics continue to evolve, we see these trends leading the way…
Trend 1: A Multi-Discipline Care Team
Clinics are no longer about a doctor, a nurse, and a receptionist. Today’s clinic requires a multi-discipline care team that may be led by a Primary M.D., Nurse Practitioner, or Internal Medicine M.D. But in addition to that leader, it may be made up of 6-15 other specialists including a pharmacist, rehab coordinator, dietician, behavioral health specialist, endocrinologist—among others.
This multi-person team will become the norm and for starters requires a larger exam room. It also requires potentially co-locating specialists within the care teams. It may even go so far as building an integrated practice that moves the patient from provider to specialist offices in different areas of the clinic. All of these models require more steps and more thought in clinic design.
Trend 2: Relationship Between Provider & Patient Expanding to Include Others
More and more a home caregiver or family member is essential for treatment and faster recovery. Often times this person will accompany the patient to the clinic to see and hear what’s discussed, requiring space in the exam room for this family member or friend.
Additionally, to ensure the caregiver understands what’s discussed clearly, large LED screens can further aid in clarity. The ability of the provider to provide written or emailed instructions is essential. The best providers will also offer a summary of the care given—and information shared.
Trend 3: More Immediate Results
Getting test results within a day—or less if possible—is essential for early diagnosis and to provide a broader array of treatment options for patients. Early test results can also shorten illness and lead to quicker recovery times.
The future is here now with labs providing online access to clinics for faster delivery of results. And in many cases, the clinic provides the patient access to lab results, scheduling, email communication with their doctor and ideally, their complete medical record—all for faster delivery of results to the patient.
Trend 4: The Internet of Things (IoT)
Connected medical devices are becoming ubiquitous in our lives. From scales to fitness trackers to smart insulin pumps, we have the opportunity to have multiple devices monitoring our health.
The clinic of the future will provide options for these devices to be linked in to their care team so they have the same info as the user. Imagine the last 24 hours of heart rate and blood pressure data being sent to your doctor from your watch before your appointment!
The rising popularity of DNA sequencing provides even more opportunities for treatments customized to our individual DNA markers and history.
The Clinic of the Future is Here
Not every clinic embodies all four of these trends, but there are pieces of them happening today. And even as we write this, there are trends emerging that we couldn’t have imagined yesterday. It’s truly an amazing time in healthcare.