Hospitals & Facilities

The hospital of the future will not only look different, but it’ll also deliver care in new ways, executives say

Hospital leaders unveil their wish lists for the future of healthcare delivery.
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Francis Scialabba

· 4 min read

Healthcare executives don’t just spend their days overseeing day-to-day hospital operations— they’re also looking months, and often years, down the line to plan the future of their health system. Those plans could involve new technologies, infrastructure projects or upgrades, streamlined staffing models, or untapped financial opportunities.

We asked hospital CEOs and other leaders for their thoughts on the health system of the future, including what those facilities will look like and how their missions will be different from today.

Here’s what three executives told Healthcare Brew is on their wish lists for the ideal hospital of the future and next era of healthcare delivery.

Their responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dianna Jacob, COO at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health

There’s a long list there: The biggest is technology. The use of technology is so rapidly shifting and it’s so far ahead on the startup side of the world. There are so many companies and organizations innovating around healthcare technology—in the walls of the hospitals, in general, across the country. We tend to be a little bit more behind and concrete around it. That’s really because there are so many rules and regulations that we have to abide by. We saw this during Covid-19; we had to wait for the ability to do televisits at the scale that we did, for permissions and from regulatory bodies before we could actually implement it. If those systems and processes were easier, we could do a whole lot more.

Digital health in the walls of hospitals is probably the area I would focus on because the ability for our patients to communicate with each other, with us—interact with us as healthcare providers, to share their feedback and their needs in real time—the ability to really remote monitor those is really important. Even the lessons from Covid, simple things like just being able to Zoom into a patient in their room without physically having to go in and having cameras in every room. That seems so simple, but it’s not the structure that we have in conventional hospital settings today.

The broad category is really, “How do you integrate digital health?” That, for me, is resilience. If we can figure out how to leverage technology in any of these different types of events, whether it’s the mass casualty incident or the evacuation event, it could only make the situation better and the care delivery better for the patient.

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Mike Slubowski, president and CEO of Michigan-based Trinity Health

The exciting part about the future is we’re learning how to marry direct caregiving with the use of technology to actually provide care more effectively in the home, in the community, and in our institutional settings. We can monitor people 24/7, 365 in places other than in a hospital. In our organization, we track it very carefully, and outcomes of care are improving for people. We’re learning how to help people live longer and live healthier, and have less injury that occurs as a result of health delivery. I’m very excited about the prospects of helping communities.

There’s got to be a forum for patients and families to have skin in the game about improving their own health because a lot of the issues we see are lifestyle: relating to obesity, diabetes, blood pressure. But it’s also due to social influencers of health. In our organization, we spend $1.4 billion a year on community health and well-being initiatives, including affordable housing, access to healthy food, anti-racism training, and diversity, equity, and inclusion training for our folks. The connection between clinical care and social care is critical. And now we have proactive systems in place where we make those connections because we recognize that health outcomes are also a function of the social needs of communities.

Those are all prospects for a better future.

Michael Dowling, president and CEO of New York-based Northwell Health

The biggest issue is to go upstream. We’ve got to do an awful lot to educate people about how to have them improve their own health. We’ve got to be dealing with public health issues. If you’re only on the downstream side of it, you can do excellent treatment—which I think we do, but it can always be improved. But you’ve got to be up from upstream on the wellness and prevention side.

There’s no public health infrastructure. During Covid, we were the public health infrastructure. So there needs to be a major commitment to that. We’ve got to make sure that we do that which is necessary—we don’t do things which are unnecessary. That we expand outpatient big-time, which is what we’re doing because of the way science is changing, and technology is changing so much.

Hospitals of the Future

The common adage goes, no one's building new hospitals. Healthcare leaders are instead updating and transforming their existing facilities with AI, fresh food, and improved processes to better the patient and provider experience. Come learn more about hospitals of the future!

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.