Small Community Medical Centers Use Innovation to Promote Health

Many people think that the biggest hospitals are the places they should go for medical care. Barring some extreme cases where specialists are needed, there are a surprising number of small community hospitals that offer superb care. For example there is a medical center in Fulton County, Pennsylvania that offers long term care, acute care, home health services, social services and community and family wellness classes and programs. Whether one lives in Pennsylvania or elsewhere it can pay to check out small community health centers and their service offerings.

It seems almost counterintuitive that a small medical center with less than 100 beds could offer state-of-the-art care. Actually some of the most innovative healthcare happens at small health centers. The goal of many small hospitals and small hospital networks is to make their medical centers more like venues for community health, instead of unapproachable institutions. These innovative health clinics want to be seen as a health resource in their communities; not only as providers of general medicine or surgical procedures. These hospitals are becoming known for pilot research programs and community programs like yoga classes and weight management courses. The emphasis is on wellness and disease prevention and the hospitals are taking the lead in the community to keep their residents healthy.

A number of small hospitals and medical centers serve a county or surrounding area and become known as the local choice for healthcare. Part of a community medical facility’s mission is to provide peace of mind to patients. They want patients tounderstand that they are getting care that’s in their neighborhood, from doctors that they will come to trust. This psychological component to delivering quality care is nearly as important as the physical delivery of health services.

Some of the small hospitals are using their architecture to send a message of well-being. The days of dismal looking hospital corridors are giving way to bright, open areas that help promote health. Long walls of windows, soaring ceilings, wall art, colorful plantings and other modern fixtures make some of today’s hospitals look more like museums or community centers than healthcare facilities. Patients appreciate this trend to a more aesthetic appearance as the sterile, dull look of yesterday’s hospitals did little to cheer people who were in ill health.

Another key benefit that some small hospitals have producedas a result of their ability to cooperate and innovate is the ability to hold down costs on some of their services. The ability to remove or sidestep red tape that may hinder larger hospitals allows these smaller medical facilities the ability to be more agile with their service delivery. Technology and the uncertain future of healthcare under the Affordable Care Act are both contributing to the future of hospitals as we know them in large cities. Perhaps large city hospitals will follow the model of the smaller regional hospitals, as investing in larger scale medical facilities may not prove to be as profitable as it was in years past.