Not Your Father’s Hospital (But Maybe Your Grandfather’s)

The profile of the full-service general hospital we still picture from soap operas is rapidly changing.

New reports focus on two wings of the hospital — the walk-in emergency room and the inpatient accommodations. How they look, both in terms of population and architecture, reflect the financial and clinical pressure points of the health care system.

The journal Health Affairs surveyed emergency room use in a variety of communities. Surprisingly, overuse of the ER was associated with the elderly, and not as postulated by anti-immigration politicians, with Hispanics, noncitizens or the uninsured.

And an association of hospital architects is recommending that single rooms for overnight or long-stay patients should be the standard as a way of containing infection, preserving patient privacy and avoiding medical errors.

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