If, as I’ve written before and as we’re now beginning to see, a hospital need not have beds, then what’s the difference between a hospital (which physicians can’t develop as a Medicare facility) and an ASC? The answer is payment rates, but how long that will be an issue isn’t clear.
In my May 2014 post Driverless Cars And The Death Of Hospitals I wrote about technological leaps that will lead to bedless hospitals. I posited that driverless technology could be used to bring patients to and from the hospital: moving hospital rooms that I referred to as pods. The patients would be monitored remotely.
Those facilities, absent the driverless pods are now a reality. One, Children’s Hospital of Michigan Specialty Center is set to open early next year.
The concept is to construct a deconstructed hospital. Key features, other than overnight beds, of a hospital remain centralized. Overnight care is delivered outside, at the patient’s home, with monitoring via telehealth.
In essence, except for an emergency room (which in some states can itself become a freestanding, although not Medicare participating, facility), these hospitals are simply large outpatient clinics.
As hospitals become more like ASCs and other outpatient facilities, physician owned non-hospital ventures can become more like hospitals.
Brick and mortar doesn’t change thinking. Thinking changes brick and mortar.