hospital hallway

Are Micro-Hospitals and Other Alternative Structures the Wave of the Future?

Everyone knows that a hospital is a building with a fixed location and overnight accommodations, right? Well, these days, that may not necessarily be a full description of the term.

Each year, new models arise to treat patients. These alternatives to the traditional hospital seek to cut costs and improve efficiency through innovative structures, such as micro, bedless, and mobile hospitals. Healthcare administrators may find themselves managing or working in one of these newer types of institutions, as they become more common. Here’s a description of each, including some of their pros and cons:


A micro-hospital is still a type of licensed hospital, though it may be evaluated through independent means. Micro-hospitals tend to be smaller than the average community hospital. For instance, they may only have eight to 15 beds. Micro-hospitals might provide services that fall outside of those seen at a traditional hospital, and sometimes include physician offices as well. Such institutions will refer patients out to traditional hospitals if needed.

Micro-hospitals differ from urgent care centers in that they serve a more acute population (though not as acute as traditional hospitals.) Proponents of micro-hospitals say that they are able to deliver healthcare in a more efficient manner and through a closer relationship with the patients. However, hospital administrators and related professionals should understand that quality targeted marketing for micro-hospitals is a must, as patients may not intuitively understand their value nor seek out their services.

Bedless hospitals

Bedless hospitals are another kind of institution that are currently changing the face of healthcare. Bedless hospitals often contain many of the same facilities as traditional hospitals, such as operating rooms, infusion rooms, and emergency rooms. The one thing they don’t have? Overnight facilities. Those in favor of bedless hospitals say they offer cost savings, and have the added benefit of reducing healthcare associated infections. They may also be a good venue for providing the services that insurance companies won’t pay to have done at hospitals, which are higher-cost facilities.

Some wonder, however, whether bedless hospitals are innovative, or simply a matter of shifting resources around. Patients with more complex medical situations will likely continue to need the resources of traditional hospitals for the foreseeable future.

Mobile hospitals

A third exciting advancement in healthcare is the rise of the mobile hospital. For an example, look at the partnership between the Phoenix Fire Department and the Barrow Neurological Institute, which maintains a mobile hospital response unit for possible stroke situations.

Having a mobile hospital unit means that stroke victims can be aided faster. Strokes are a particularly good application for mobile hospitals, because in such cases every minute matters to the end health outcome.

This article provides just a survey of some of the new models for distributing healthcare. Where these innovations will lead, and how successful they have been thus far, is up for debate. However, it is clear that the traditional model for hospitals is getting shaken up, and there are more types of service models each day for healthcare administrators to understand.