In this series, Healthcare Design magazine asks leading healthcare design professionals, firms, and owners to tell us what’s got their attention and share some ideas on the subject.

Here, Dan Stanek, executive vice president at Big Red Rooster, a multidimensional brand experience firm in Columbus, Ohio, talks about the shifting marketplace, integrating healthcare and wellness under one roof, and using technology to enrich the consumer experience.

1. The retailing of healthcare services is all around us

Next time you drive past a strip center or peruse the local mall, you’re bound to see at least one retail store offering healthcare or wellness services: teeth whitening kiosks, foot health stores, massage and chiropractic centers, hearing aid centers. Health and wellness resonates with many retail brands, so healthcare services are an easy fit. Consumers' desire to shop around for routine health services and the commoditization of these services is forcing providers to market and differentiate. Expect to see more retail and consumer-centered store experiences as retailers seek to increase non-promotional in-store traffic and health services providers desire to lower costs, drive traffic and convenient access, and address primary care shortages in traditional models.

2. Taking brands seriously

Several Ohio-based health care systems, including Premier Health Partners, The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, recently announced strategic decisions to change their names. Many additional U.S. hospitals are making similar moves to remain competitive in an ever-changing healthcare realm. A slight name change may seem like a small feat to some, but it’s a huge commitment to your brand and the patient experience. I’ve noticed a shift as healthcare organizations begin to view their brands as competitive consumer products instead of mere descriptors.

3. Opting to age at home

As a baby boomer, I hate to admit it: Our generation is getting older. More than 3.5 million Americans will turn 65 this year, and the over-65 crowd is set to hit 72 million by 2030. As aging boomers seek to maintain independence and reduce continuous care costs, the aging in place trend is gaining traction and will impact the healthcare design industry, as well as residential and community design. Be on the lookout for a rise in electronic health monitoring systems, in-home safety products, and environmental designs with a modern twist that cater to these stylish elders.

4. Tech-enabled self health

From app-based calorie and exercise trackers to wireless blood glucose meters, the advent of self care surrounds us. Tech tools allow consumers to track and even share their own health behavior with social networks and healthcare providers. The idea of an ongoing diagnostic is valuable, and I’m wondering how healthcare facilities will activate this information. Will healthcare designers utilize self-health monitoring data and integrate them into their processes to develop rich consumer experiences?

5. Integrated health systems

Imagine integrating healthcare, wellness, exercise, and nutrition under one roof. This blended health system vision is becoming a reality as healthcare providers and community organizations team up to offer services within a single facility. In May, Project HOME announced that it plans to open the $18 million The Stephen Klein Wellness Center for North Philadelphia residents with services including  healthcare, counseling, wellness classes, and a fitness center. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Healthy New Albany are partnering on a similar community health project  called The Core, which blends personalized medicine, exercise, and activities within a central location.

Dan Stanek

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