Thank you to all who joined us for our Recentric Investor Series Webinar on The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Care.
Bill Repichowskyj, Partner at E4H Environments for Health Architecture and Jennifer Arbuckle, Author at E4H, a health care architect firm based in Dallas, TX shared valuable insights about how Pediatric Care Facilities will be impacted post-COVID-19.
About Our Guests
With over four decades of experience, E4H Environments for Health is committed exclusively to the design of innovative health facilities. As a nationally recognized architecture firm, E4H’s team of future-focused strategists and visionary healthcare architects create flexible, state-of-the-art facilities designed to enhance the well-being of patients, staff, and families.
Jennifer Arbuckle, AIA, NCARB, Leed AP, Partner
Jennifer has nearly 30 years of architectural experience in all types of health facilities. She has guided many projects from initial master planning and programming through design and construction. She has worked on projects across the northeast ranging from Children’s Hospitals such as Blythedale Children’s Hospital to Community Medical Centers.
Bill Repichowsky, AIA, NCARB, Partner
As a partner and design leader for healthcare projects, Bill has over 30 years of experience. He has worked both nationally and internationally on a large variety of healthcare project types and sizes, ranging from academic medical centers to outpatient clinics for health systems. His pediatric design work includes Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.
- What are the unintended consequences impacting pediatric care as it relates to their physical space compared to delivering care pre-COVID-19?
- Are we seeing discussions of consolidation of smaller lease spaces, and going with one larger space to streamline operations?
- As it related to tele-health, are practices needing more lease space to accommodate individual doctors needing their own recording space?
If you have taken your child to the doctor in the past few weeks, you have probably noticed a few changes to your pediatric care experience. Of course, everyone is wearing a mask, entering patient information onto their phone and staying 6 feet apart. These are obvious and necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.
But did you notice that the HVAC filters have been upgraded utilizing a HEPA filtration and Air Purification System? Or that UV light technology has been installed at each of the entrances to the building? Or perhaps you didn’t experience a waiting room at all. You simply received a text on your phone with instructions to head directly to a specific exam room.
Nationwide, there are about 60,000 general pediatricians and 30,000 pediatric subspecialties, according to the American Medical Association. The success of these practices is driven largely by demographics. The profitability of each pediatric practice is based on efficient operations and reimbursement rates.
The business of pediatric care is facing some headwinds with COVID-19 and more direct competition, but appears to be weathering the storm and continuing to grow.
Here are some of the trends affecting these practices:
Medical Innovations Within Pediatric Care
COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated medical innovations for treating children. The telemedicine industry is a prime example of a technology fast track which helps to reduce unnecessary hospital visits, keep children patients from spreading disease and allow the pediatric clinics to stay under capacity as a result.
Not all states currently allow telehealth treatments for children; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics is working hard at the Federal level with Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) to reduce the barriers and increase health insurance coverage. Children will at some time still need to physically go see their doctor, and technology is coming to the rescue.
To encourage innovation in this area, the Nation Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation has created a competition focused on COVI-19 related pediatric medical devices to improve the diagnosing and treatment of children during a pandemic. The winners receive a grant of up to $50,000 and will be announced July 20th, 2020.
Pediatric Planning and Design Considerations
Pediatricians diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, provide immunizations and monitor patient’s growth to adulthood. Some subspecialties include pediatric cardiology, pediatric critical care, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric hematology/oncology and neonatology.
The Planning and Design considerations for pediatric care include waiting areas, patient throughput, staff workflows and overall infection control. Distracting children with games that control touching are quickly being implemented in children’s waiting rooms. Virtual games allow kids to stay busy during their wait without spreading germs. COVID-19 driven innovations such as thermal temperature screening cameras, enhanced filtrations systems and ultraviolet light strategy are all being deployed to kill germs and provide a safer environment for children.
The Future of Pediatric Care
Pediatricians are facing more direct competition with nearby walk in clinics, which include chain pharmacies and mass merchandisers, such as Walmart. The retail clinics offer limited serviced such as immunizations and basic treatment, which is causing pediatricians to stay open on weekends and evenings.
However, the outlook for pediatric growth is strong. According to Dunn & Bradstreet, US consumer prices for medical services, an indicator of profitability for pediatric offices, rose 5.1% in November 2019 compared to the same month in 2018. And total US revenue for physicians’ offices, including pediatrics, rose 3.1% in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year. The business of treating children is facing some headwinds with COVID-19 and more direct competition, but appears to be weathering the storm and continuing to grow.
Recentric continues to look for development and acquisition opportunities to meet the growing demand for larger, out-patient medical facilities. This strategy allows us to take advantage of the growing need for these facilities and offer new and exciting opportunities to our current and future investors.