In this short video, Daniel Carter will discuss the characteristics of a microhospital.
I’m Daniel Carter and I wanted to talk a bit today about microhospitals. In healthcare strategy, we often hear terms that cause a lot of excitement, and sometimes, that excitement is for good reason and sometimes, it ends up being just a passing fad.
I have been getting a lot of questions lately about microhospitals, and how they may fit into a particular organization strategy. I thought we should take a minute and try to define microhospitals before moving into talking about strategy and its impact on strategy. I think one of the difficulties of understanding what a microhospital is, is that there is not a standard definition for them. That is, unlike facilities like a critical access hospital or an LTACH or even a freestanding emergency department, CMS does not have a definition for them, there is not a federal organization that gives us the definition of them. So, I am going share with you from my experience the typical characteristics of a microhospital, and then we can start talking, and maybe in a later blog, I’ll talk about the strategy behind microhospitals. So, the first and probably most obvious feature is that they are smaller than a regular, full-service hospital in terms of number of beds. Typically, I see between 15 to 30, can be smaller in some markets and larger in others, but that is a good range.
More importantly than the size of the facility, I think, and how many beds it has, is the type of patients it serves. From an inpatient perspective, generally, we’re talking about lower acuity, shorter-stay patients. So, patients with comorbidities or patients that are high-risk patients are not typically served in a microhospital. Most of them also don’t have ICUs and critical care just is not a part of their continuum of care.
Another important feature of them is that they also have high-frequency outpatient services. So, there is a lot of outpatient volume typically performed at a microhospital. So, an emergency department, imaging particularly, high volume imaging like CT and Xray are usually present in a microhospital. Surgery, predominantly outpatient surgery, but some inpatient surgery as well is also a feature and the bare minimum in terms of other support services, ancillary services like lab and pharmacy. So, you can see with the smaller number of beds and the lower number of ancillary services that are provided on site, microhospitals just don’t need the physical plant in terms of size that a full-service hospital does.
Therefore, they are much smaller than a full-service hospital, generally half or even smaller than even a small community hospital, so that does provide some savings on capital cost, but it also means there are some requirements on the part of the hospital, the larger hospital that they’re working with in terms of providing those services that aren’t provided on-site at the microhospital.
So, in a later blog, we’ll probably talk about how a microhospital may work in your strategy moving forward.