This article will appear in the upcoming April print issue of Surgical Products.

Facility construction and expansion is slowing, but these types of projects remain a significant focal point for healthcare providers in 2014.

There are more than 7,500 hospitals in the United States today, and based on exclusive findings from two recent surveys of the Surgical Products readership, about half of them have experienced a construction project at their facility during the last three years and a little more than a third are in the midst of an expansion effort right now.

In assembling and evaluating the results, Surgical Products focused on the amount of construction/expansion taking place at hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics around the country. The survey sought to determine what kinds of investments were being made and how these expenditures could impact surgical capabilities in the near and distant future.

Here’s what we found:

When asked about recent expansion projects, a little more than 50 percent of respondents said they have seen expansion or construction take place at their facility within the last three years. Furthermore, approximately 37 percent are currently in the midst of a surgical expansion project and more than 41 percent stated that expansion will take place sometime during the next three years. Past, present, and proposed expansion efforts are all down when compared to a 2013 survey of Surgical Products readers.

The focus of many of these expansion projects is the addition of operating rooms, general infrastructure upgrades, and a desire to accommodate a specific technology or piece of equipment. Meanwhile, more administrative space and patient hospitalization rooms are less of a focus.

When respondents were asked about a specific focus of their respective facility’s expansion:

  • 78 percent said more operating rooms
  • 67 percent said accommodating a specific piece of technology or equipment
  • 55 percent said general infrastructure upgrades

When respondents were asked about which aspect or aspects of their respective expansion project received the most funding:

  • 75 percent said lighting
  • 63 percent said booms
  • 50 percent said monitors

When asked about the most significant surgical benefit that has been realized as a result of an expansion project, or is projected to be realized following completion of their facility’s expansion project:

  • A whopping 75 percent cited improved visualization technology, such as monitors, lighting, etc.
  • 50 percent look forward to implementing new and less invasive surgical capabilities
  • 50 percent feel improved post-operative patient care resources has been or will be the greatest realized benefit

Another survey of our readers found facilities are much more likely to make purchases in the following categories over the course of the next six months to a year. More than half plan to purchase:

  • Surgical instruments
  • Surgical apparel

In looking at the results of this survey, it’s clear that facility expansion and construction is on the decline. Current projects and future plans for expansion are both down from 2013 and 2012. However, the ongoing quest to address facility inefficiencies, reduce costs, and improve surgical outcomes makes continued investment in capital equipment (including lights, booms, and monitors) and renovating surgical space to complement this equipment as important as ever.

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