Exasperated man in doctor's waiting room.

March 13, 2016

New Healthcare Options Grant Outpatients the Power of Choice


When you decide to buy a new car, what do you do? Perhaps, browse several dealerships to see where you can get the most value. You, as a consumer have the power of choice to evaluate which car is best for you. This ‘best deal’ phenomenon is starting to apply to healthcare services for non-emergency or acute situations. With the emergence of “Minute Clinics,” outpatient options are growing.

Haskell’s Ted Moore, Operations Manager at Haskell provides a personal story as a patient that values time, efficiency and certainty. As a healthcare facility expert for more than 23 years, he predicts that if these issues are not addressed, there will be much more competition for your system than you may have considered.

Exploring My Options

I recently needed a MRI brain study conducted (with and without contrast) as an outpatient procedure. I could do the 60- to 90-minute procedure as an outpatient at one of three local hospitals, or at one of about seven outpatient MRI imaging centers that took my insurance. Since the procedure was going to require considerable out-of-pocket expense, I decided to compare and shop around.

When I contacted the three local hospitals, none could offer an accurate estimate of the time required or of an accurate price. All of them suggested that I plan on being there all day. In an active family with two working parents and two very active teenagers, I simply just don’t have all day. I decided to explore further.

The Consumer Power

When I spoke with the staff at one outpatient center, they described all the steps to me. In a brief phone call, they told me the exact price, when I needed to arrive, when I would be able to return to work, and even what portion my insurance would cover. It made my choice very easy. The day of my MRI, I was out of the office a total of about 3 hours, instead of the full day the hospitals anticipated. More importantly, everything they promised was exactly as described – taking the uncertainty out of the procedure.

After this experience, there is no doubt that I will drive farther and even pay a little more if I feel like my time is valued. I think that is the exact reason “Advanced Urgent Care” services and “Minute Clinics” are becoming extremely popular around the country. In addition to providing advanced care capabilities and extended hours, they truly emphasize customer service and convenience.

Instead of presuming I need my healthcare provider more than they need me, I have realized that in today’s market, I have the power to choose.

Shifting From Patient to Healthcare Facility Professional

Once I shifted my view from a patient to a healthcare-facility professional, I knew that my clients would have to place a renewed focus on the patient experience. Patients are becoming more selective as they have more options, so simply mounting a new television in the waiting room will not be enough. Hospital owners must go beyond simple processes to appeal to this new, more selective patient.

Hospitals are realizing that a world-class healthcare facility is not just about aesthetics, it is also about designing for operational efficiency and the patient experience. For example, healthcare systems are beginning to repurpose and relocate departments to centralize services. Tightly integrated service areas that can meet the needs of patients efficiently are far better than sending patients to a variety of floors or departments.

The Evolution of Outpatient Services

We understand that your hospital is now being measured by how many people you keep healthy instead of by how many people remain in your care. Therefore, outpatient facilities are a way for you to keep your patients within your system without them being in the hospital. For outpatient services, however, patients now have more options and will exercise their power of choice when they feel like their patient experience is not up to par.

The outpatient market is evolving, and patients have the power to vote with their wallets. The question is: Will they vote for your healthcare system? Telling patients to sit down and wait is just no longer going to work.

If you would like to discuss facility solutions that can improve the patient experience, contact Ted Moore at ted.moore@haskell.com.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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