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9 Takeaways from the 2016 HFM Healthcare Construction Survey


Health Facilities Management (HFM) Magazine, in cooperation with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, recently released the results of their 2016 Healthcare Construction Survey. For any contractor who is currently working in the healthcare construction or renovation industry, or who wants to expand his or her business to include those areas, the results of this survey should be very enlightening. The survey included more than 200 hospitals around the U.S., with rural, urban, and suburban facilities all reporting.

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Here are 9 takeaways that we think could have a major impact on the progress of hospital construction projects around the country.

STATISTIC: More than 86% of survey respondents called patient satisfaction “very important” to design changes in health facilities and/or services.

TAKEAWAY: With a huge majority of hospitals indicating that patient satisfaction is very important, it must be something that takes top priority for contractors as well. This is particularly true during hospital renovation projects when patients are present -- everything from where workers enter the building to how much sound they make while working can impact patient satisfaction.


STATISTIC: 63% of respondents said they include the public in the design process.

TAKEAWAY: Designing a new or updated healthcare facility involves the input from many different stakeholders. What the community cares about -- from the impact on traffic patterns to the timeline of the project -- may not always align exactly with what hospital administrators or designers see as most important. It will be critical for contractors to be able to understand and address these diverse needs.


STATISTIC: More than half of respondents said they use noise-reduction construction materials to improve patient experience. 

TAKEAWAY: While patients cannot expect absolute silence in busy hospitals, the fact that noise-reduction is a key element of more than 50% of construction projects in respondent hospitals says something about the importance of keeping noise down. This can be a major hurdle for contractors who have not worked in healthcare environments before, but the right equipment can mitigate even the noisiest projects.


STATISTIC: 66% of respondents said their facility is converting semiprivate rooms to private rooms in response to patient demand.

TAKEAWAY: This statistic is another indication that patient comfort is of the utmost importance. When working with design teams and when actively constructing hospital projects, contractors must be acutely aware of how their actions impact patients.


STATISTIC: Of the 70% of respondents who said they have projects under construction or planned in the next 3 years, 75% of those projects were expansions or hospital renovations.

TAKEAWAY: New hospital construction is simply not a priority for the majority of facilities. What once may have been megaprojects have been largely scaled down in favor of updating existing facilities. This means that contractors need to be more flexible than ever and able to work on more smaller projects as opposed to fewer big ones.


STATISTIC:  61% of respondents said they either have upgraded or replaced air handlers and ventilation systems over the last two years, are doing so now or plan to within the next two years.

TAKEAWAY: Proper air filtration and dust containment are some of the most important improvements a hospital can make because they help to reduce the risk of dangerous and expensive hospital acquired infections. General contractors must be trained in proper air filtration processes for their own business as well as patient safety.


STATISTIC: Some hospitals have created new “chief patient experience officer” roles in the C-suite to be advocates for changes that include patients and communities.

TAKEAWAY: Indicative of how seriously health systems are taking patient satisfaction, this new role could be an important liaison in any healthcare construction or renovation project.


STATISTIC: 34% of respondents said they use building information modeling (BIM) for facilities operations.

TAKEAWAY: BIM can be one of the best ways for a facility to understand their building once a new construction project is complete and ultimately to be more satisfied with the final product. When appropriate, contractors may want to encourage facilities to implement this kind of modeling.


STATISTIC: 65% of recently completed projects are on or under budget and/or on or ahead of schedule.

TAKEAWAY: Being on time and under budget has always been a critical element of any contractor’s business. This particular result represents a nearly 20% increase over 2015, meaning that hospitals may quickly become less tolerant of projects that do not achieve the same impressive results.  


While no survey can accurately reflect every health system or hospital, the results we see here are indicative of larger trends across the U.S. Healthcare contractors should be well versed in these types of trends if they hope to have a flourishing business and valuable hospital partnerships.

If you want to read the full recap of the survey, visit HFMMagazine.com


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