Healthcare News & Insights

Lessons microhospitals can teach your organization

Many healthcare organizations are developing microhospitals, which are smaller facilities that focus on noncritical patients and are often combined with primary care or specialty practices. Even if your organization isn’t creating its own microhospital, the lessons learned from their implementation can apply to any health system. 

According to an article from Hospitals & Health Networks, microhospitals are designed as a lower-cost alternative to a standard hospital, addressing patients with less critical needs in a more intimate setting.

Usually, microhospitals have:

  • eight to 10 inpatient beds
  • eight to 10 emergency department treatment bays
  • a small imaging and diagnostic suite, and
  • support functions (e.g., dietary and pharmacy services).

Because of these limitations, microhospitals don’t provide critical care. Most patients stay at a microhospital for two days or less, and if their condition demands a longer hospital stay, they can be transferred to a larger hospital.

Microhospital benefits

But what’s the benefit of a microhospital, if it’s just a smaller version of a regular hospital?

Many microhospitals are close enough in proximity to a larger hospital that they can take on some of its patients, which can reduce the load on bigger hospitals and cut down on wait times for patients.

Since almost half of all healthcare visits are to the ED, providing another option to patients with less acute concerns frees up resources and time for standard-size hospitals to focus on critical patients who may need specialized treatment.

Microhospitals are often located in rural or underserved areas, so people who may not otherwise go out of their way to a bigger hospital can access them conveniently. And microhospitals are designed to be highly visible in the community, making it clear to everyone that resources are available for their healthcare needs. Because the small facilities often offer patients access to primary care and specialty clinical services, microhospitals expand their options to more than just emergency care.

Lessons learned

Not every hospital has the money or ability to develop its own nearby microhospital. But the qualities of microhospitals patients appreciate can be applied to any hospital, regardless of size.

Now more than ever, patients (especially Millennials) are interested in immediacy, convenience and personalization with their health care, which microhospitals provide. Per Healthcare Finance News, two simple strategies for capitalizing on these desires are:

  1. Use technology to improve convenience and immediacy. Mobile apps where patients can schedule appointments or speak directly to a doctor without having to visit the hospital are useful to a patient population that’s always looking at a smartphone.
  2. Provide care packs with accessories to make a patient’s hospital stay easier. Care packs could include sleep masks, headphones, lip balm and other products that may not be essentials, but can improve a patient’s experience.

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