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Coming to Grips With the Healthcare Cost Crisis

By Christopher Crow and Tom Banning It’s common knowledge that North Texas has a healthcare cost problem. We’ve become one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country. In the last decade, health insurance premiums in our community have more than doubled, putting a tremendous financial strain on families, employers, and government alike. There is a lot of blame to go around as to who is responsible for our healthcare cost crisis, but one enterprise ripe for scrutiny is the rampant growth of Wall Street-backed, investor-owned, out-of-network, freestanding emergency rooms. Nearly half of all freestanding ERs in the U.S.… Full Story

How Data Impacts Healthcare Architecture and Beyond

Check the wrists of those around you, and you’ll find biosensor tracking devices gathering data on sleep patterns and step counts. Patient-generated health data (PGHD) via wearables is off the charts. Additionally, tech accessories continue to be designed to integrate with iOS and other major operating systems to expand the biotracking capabilities of our wearables, including glucose meters, hearing aids, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, EKGs and health thermometers. Another area that data is quickly infiltrating, one that many don’t take into account: Healthcare architecture. It’s Not the Data, It’s What You Do with It Healthcare, indeed, has the… Full Story

Establishing New Mental Health Guidelines for Dallas Employers

Mental illness is a growing crisis in America, affecting one in five adults in a given year, 60 percent of whom don’t seek help. Unfortunately, an unwillingness to seek help is due in part to the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and the limited availability of mental health caregivers and treatment centers. May is “Mental Health Awareness Month,” designated to call attention to the nation’s mental health crisis. For employers it makes good business sense to pay attention, given the high direct and indirect costs of unrecognized, untreated, and inappropriately treated mental and behavioral health conditions. Beyond the… Full Story

Clinical Trials Exclude Too Many Patients

Not long ago, I examined an otherwise healthy and active retiree in his 50s with newly diagnosed metastatic lung cancer. He had no heart disease, no kidney disease, no liver disease. He came to my practice at UT Southwestern Medical Center specifically for clinical trial options. Disappointingly, one detail in his medical history excluded him from all of our available trials. Four years earlier, he had been treated for stage 1 prostate cancer, a disease so prevalent and nonaggressive that the U.S. government no longer recommends routine screening for it. I couldn’t think of a single way in which the… Full Story

Medical City Healthcare Partners with Sarah Cannon

It seems that everyone has a connection to cancer. It doesn’t discriminate, no matter who you are or where you live. My connection is my own father, a gastroenterologist, who died when he was 52 and I was just 19. His cancer battle and his passing left an indelible impression that has helped shape the decisions I make as a healthcare executive committed to the care and improvement of human life. I’m very encouraged that cancer patients at Medical City Healthcare facilities have our lifesaving family of experts—and now, Sarah Cannon—on their side. Who is Sarah Cannon? Country music fans… Full Story

The Holy Grail of Healthcare: Patient Experience (And How Design Can Influence It)

As providers continue their shift toward value-based and patient-centered models of care, creating remarkable patient experiences has become an even stronger competitive differentiator. Today, patients have more care options than ever before, and with non-traditional providers coming out of the woodwork, healthcare systems are in need of new approaches to create patient experiences that are second to none. Designing healthcare environments to improve the patient experience is not a new concept; most modern healthcare spaces are designed for comfort, accessibility and quality, which are all important in supporting a patient’s experience and their outcomes. But since these considerations are now… Full Story

Improving Maternal Mortality Rates Will Take a Statewide, Collaborative Effort

A Texas Congressman asked me if the alarming maternal mortality statistics within our state were true. Maternal mortality—when a mother dies from pregnancy related to complications while pregnant or within 42 days of giving birth—apparently doubled in Texas between 2010 and 2012. While the complete accuracy of the data is debated, black mothers accounted for just 11 percent of Texas births, but 20 percent of maternal deaths from 2012 to 2015. In Texas, low-income women generally don’t have access to health insurance, birth control, substance abuse treatment, and prenatal care. Writers in the journal Birth state there could be statistical… Full Story

What Hospitals Should Require From Construction Firms

In North Texas and elsewhere, builders are moving away from being reactive, individual contributors. Instead, they’re seeking to become integrated, proactive partners with the other arms of the project—architects, subcontractors, and clients. That shift is even more in play when it comes to healthcare, and the changing relationship has placed an even greater emphasis on trust. North Texas’ healthcare community continues to see projects on the rise as systems set out to meet the needs of a growing population. But before a hospital takes the plunge and hires a general contractor, they should know about and expect the following four… Full Story

New Blood Pressure Guidelines Raise Awareness, Concerns

Do I have high blood pressure? It’s a question more people may be asking themselves after the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) released new guidelines that expanded the range for what’s considered high. The change dropped the level at which a person is diagnosed with hypertension to 130/80 from 140/90, essentially adding about 30 million Americans to the ranks of those living with high blood pressure. (The top number reflects systolic blood pressure measured in arteries as the heart pumps blood, and the bottom indicates diastolic pressure when the heart is relaxed.) Some doctors… Full Story

Seven Strategies for Designing Healthcare Interiors for Clinician Productivity and Retention

Clinician efficiency and retention is a top priority for healthcare systems across the nation. With an estimated cost of up to $60,000 to replace a nurse, keeping staff engaged and productive benefits every aspect of healthcare – from patient care to the bottom line. As a former full-time pediatric nurse and now a healthcare interior designer at the Dallas office of Perkins+Will, I’ve learned firsthand several strategies to improve overall work experience through the design of healthcare spaces. Use a comprehensive, holistic design approach. Engaging the specific users of healthcare spaces in the design process is crucial to understanding the… Full Story