A Rising Trend: Micro-hospitals

The fast changing nature of healthcare delivery and patient’s desire for convenience in treatment services has led to the emergence of modern trends such as the urgent care clinics, stand-alone emergency rooms, and now ‘micro-hospitals’. Micro-hospitals constitute a rising trend that shows signs of taking over the healthcare industry in 2017. For example, the Denver, CO based SCL Health has already set out to set up four micro-hospitals in various neighborhood settings. The hospitals are also springing up in states such as Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Arizona.

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What is a micro-hospital?

Micro-hospitals are small-scale inpatient facilities on two to three-story buildings built on 20,000 to 50,000-square foot spaces that offer a wide range of medical services in a small, neighborhood setting. They run 24/7, all year long, and commonly have between eight and 10 beds where patients can be observed or admitted for a short stay. Many health systems such as SCL Health and Dignity Health are using micro-hospitals to expand their services and fill gaps in markets where there is not enough demand to support a traditional hospital.

What are the services in micro-hospitals?

Different micro-hospitals may not have the same design or service mix, but most of them have services such as emergency medical care, laboratories and lab services, inpatient care, imaging, and pharmacy services. Some also have operating rooms to handle complicated surgeries. Others also offer ancillary services such as primary care, labor and delivery, dietary services and pediatric care.

How is their pricing?

Micro-hospitals are priced higher than urgent care centers, but far less than a full-service hospital emergency center or inpatient facility. So, their prices are relatively average. They can accommodate patients suffering from diseases and conditions such as acute abdominal pain, sprained and broken bones, dehydration, heart attacks, pneumonia, seizures, minor trauma, bladder infections, lacerations, and more.

How do micro-hospitals differ from stand-alone emergency departments?

Stand-alone emergency departments (EDs) have also been a growing trend in the healthcare industry for the last several years. Both the micro-hospitals and EDs are equipped to handle many emergencies and have imaging, laboratory and some diagnostic capabilities. However, micro-hospitals are different in that they are fully licensed, have inpatient beds, and some offer basic as well as specialty care services.

What is the future of micro-hospitals?

The growth trend for micro-hospitals is not likely to slow down in the near future. At the moment, most micro-hospitals are set in large urban and suburban metropolitan areas because they are deemed too complex or large for the rural market. However, there are experts who believe that the facilities would also be great for people in underserved areas to help communities that lack access to medical care.

Micro-hospitals are here to stay, and 2017 will prove that. Patients need easy access to professional medical care and reduced travel time. To learn more about emerging trends and how they impact the healthcare field, visit University of California’s Executive Master of Health Administration program online.


News and Media

SCL Health Tries Out Micro-Hospitals