By Shane Devereux
As the healthcare landscape shifts toward clinical integration, new innovative approaches to care delivery are becoming more prevalent in health systems around the country. The ‘health village’ or ‘medical village’ is one such method that improves patient care in a more standardized, sustainable way than its traditional counterparts.
What is a Health Village?
A health village is a multi-use environment that integrates healthcare with retail, commercial, education, residential, and wellness services. Health villages not only provide health care services to treat those who are sick but also offer resources and services for patients to continue staying healthy and well. Several health providers across the US are contributing to the popularity of health villages, with strategies in place to transition their traditional hospitals into more mixed-use settings reflective of the health village concept.
Health villages provide both health and non-health services, with the objective to improve healthcare delivery by an integration of a variety of utilities, such as: urgent care, preventative care, elder care, inpatient and outpatient services, health education, retail units, home health, and senior living spaces. Designed to accommodate all community members, health villages adapt spaces to become more flexible for both clinical and administrative purposes. For example, procedural rooms are designed for flexible usage, which provides multi-functioning spaces, reducing overall hospital costs for providers.
Health Villages in Practice
Health Villages are the product of collaborative efforts among healthcare providers and real estate companies to deliver more accommodating patient-centric care. For example, Henderson Hospital at The Union Village places patient-centricity at its core with design features in patient rooms, contributing to patient privacy and experience. Nurses’ stations are located behind glass walls, providing staff with a silent nurse call system that uses wireless phones instead of overhead paging.
Similarly, Inter-Lakes Health plans to transition to a health village with an emergency department, diagnostic imaging, an outpatient clinic, a physical therapy center, and pharmacy on-site. Other elements, such as senior housing quarters, a nursing home, dental clinic, and a substance-abuse treatment center are expected to be added to the campus.
Recently, Providence Health System in Washington, DC announced their implementation of a health village to encompass their hospital campus, embarking upon a mission to deliver unconventional health services. Providence Health System envisions its health village to include primary care, speciality care, ambulatory surgery, telehealth/virtual care, diagnostic services, and pharmacy services. Providence also hopes to expand its post-acute care and to work with Ascension Living, which operates senior living, assisted living, and long-term care communities. Providence’s health village could also include recreational green space and walking trails.
By offering a streamlined approach to healthcare delivery, health villages provide convenient and accessible facilities for patients pre-treatment, during treatment, and post-treatment.