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health care, facilities, strategic facilities planning, space utilization
Turbulent market conditions have forced the health care sector to re-examine its business and operational practices. Health care has become increasingly complex as decisions and planning are reframed in light of the current lagging economy, an increased demand for services, new global competition, and impending legislation reform. The stress is felt most keenly within the nation’s hospitals and consortia of health care facilities. Facility planning decisions are no exception. Hospital administrators are abandoning the once commonplace rules governing aging infrastructure renovations. Instead, administrators are basing decisions within their respective strategic context and are attempting to align buildings, services, personnel, and technology to an overall plan that looks at markets, operations, and finances as resources for competitive advantage. This paper reviews the strategic facilities planning literature and applies those best practices which support this organizational alignment for health care. An application in the mid-Atlantic demonstrates that hospital facilities, by design, need to support the current and future needs of health care delivery systems, while dated structures impede industry advances. Health care infrastructure improvements must proactively address technological, regulatory, and financial changes facing the sector.