Recent shifts in the healthcare industry- culture, labor and workflow- are challenging the design standards of the conventional medical office building (MOB). We are starting to see new designs and new MOBs that challenge historic assumptions of what a MOB should look like and how it should function. The result is a reevaluation of the MOB with a new focus on convenience, efficiency and mobility.
We are all familiar with the typical MOB design: multi-tenant facilities housing various independent physicians or practices groups. Floor plans typically include long public hallways with separate suites on either side, each suite having its own entrance, reception area, waiting room, exam rooms, offices, record storage, imaging center, lab, etc.
Now, we are starting to see MOBs that support physician integration and collaboration. MOBs are housing complementary practices and co-located services so that support staff, common areas and even exam rooms can be integrated, boosting productivity, efficiency and convenience for the patients. Floor plans include shared reception areas and waiting rooms for all patients. Waiting rooms will be designed intentionally to provide a soothing and aesthetically pleasing experience. Even exam rooms will be organized into groups of standardized pods that can adapt to the ebb and flow of patient demand for particular specialties. Business offices may be eliminated altogether, if those functions can be absorbed by the employer-hospital model.
Under this model, components of the facility will be interchangeable and cross-utilized. Exam rooms will be dedicated to more than one function. Equipment and furniture will be more mobile in order to facilitate and encourage easy movement.
In the new design, patients would be able to go to one place for similar care needs. There will be MOBs dedicated to specific demographics and ailments: women’s health MOBs, an orthopedics MOB that houses sports medicine, rehabilitative services and physical therapy all under one roof. Pediatric and young family specialties would be grouped together, elder care specialties, etc. The model is much more patient friendly.
There are, of course, cost benefits to this new model. Integrating multi-specialty MOBs will reduce facilities costs as duplicated spaces and services will be consolidated. The advantage of reducing costs while increasing quality means that these changes will be widespread and take on quickly.