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Orthopedics: A fast-growing trend

As one of the fastest growing surgical segments, orthopedics is in great demand, specifically from an aging baby boomer generation, making orthopedic practices and orthopedic related medical real estate a growing interest to hospitals. Demand can be seen in two forms: outpatient procedures and specialty hospitals.

With an estimated 30 to 40 percent of patients visiting primary care physicians indicating musculoskeletal issues as a concern according to the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California, orthopedic surgery is a developing field. Some of the more common surgeries are total knee and hip replacements which topped 906,000 in 2009, the latest year which figures from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is available. The majority of people that are getting these surgeries are the baby boomers.

According to projections by Drexel University specialist Steven Kurtz this age group will account for a 17-fold increase in knee replacements alone surmounting 994,000 by 2030. Baby boomers are unlike older generations in that as their joints are wearing thin, they want to maintain a high level of activity. Their activeness may be a reason why they need replacements as over exertion accelerates osteoarthritis, the main reason cartilage fades away from joints.

The surgical trend is moving towards minimally invasive surgery. This is a plus for orthopedic surgeons and hospitals affiliated with surgical centers. Surgeons are able to deliver better outcomes for their patients, and more on an outpatient basis, which is a cost effective solution when providing care. On the other hand, a more comprehensive orthopedic treatment approach can be seen with specialty hospitals. 

Specialty hospitals provide specialized treatment, care and services to patients. Orthopedic hospitals specifically deliver orthopedic surgical care, rehabilitation, physical therapy, sports performance and more. In a 2012 Health Facilities Management/ASHE Construction survey 14% of hospital executives indicated orthopedic specialty hospitals as a development project, a 2% increase from 2011.

Case Studies:

When constructing state-of-the-art orthopedic facilities one needs look further than Mon’s General Orthopedic Center in West Virginia. Located on the hospital’s campus the 21,700 square foot facility offers four large operating rooms armed with the ability to cater to patients with complex orthopedic illnesses and those in need of specialized orthopedic procedures. The operating rooms also feature a sophisticated equipment management systems organizing equipment and medical services in one location rather than carting equipment between rooms.

However, not all orthopedic centers can be built directly on the hospital’s campus which is why Twin Cities Orthopedics, one of the largest orthopedic groups in the country, developed their orthopedic center proximal to one. This way construction costs were less while there a reliable stream of patient volume was still available.

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