The hospital of the future

The Hospital of the Future

Wish I had a digital camera with me for moments like this.

High atop a hill in Escondido, California, crews are building the Palomar Pomerado Hospital. Midway through construction, the project is just beyond, to use Jerry Seinfeld’s words, the cross-beam girder system stage. But what will it be down the road? A banner at the site proclaims:

The Hospital of the Future

Hallelujah. At a time when no one agrees on what the future healthcare system should look like, somehow we already know what the hospital of the future looks like, today. Or at least where it will be. But wait! We also know that the hospital is now slated to cost $940 million, up from the original $753 million — you know, to pay for even more advanced medical technology. I guess the future quickly changed again.

To me the hospital is symbolic of the healthcare system. Meaning, it could be stocked with the most innovative, advanced, precise and helpful technology in the world; staffed with the most competent , trustworthy, and service-minded medical experts in the world; and offer the cleanest bathrooms and finest gift stores anywhere in North San Diego County. But none of that matters if it still takes me 45 minutes to complete all my paperwork before getting any medical attention when the hospital isn’t even busy. Or if only 50% of my costs are paid when I thought it would be 80%.

My insurance is actually fine. I’m happy with it. In fact I’m worried that premiums will go up, if there’s a public option, as my fellow employees may choose to opt for that rather than our company-provided program. Multiply this across millions of businesses and it will be more difficult for insurers to cover medical costs for each of us. But I digress.

What I’m saying is, though our system isn’t working and we don’t really know what it’s going to look like in 180 days, it’s great to see a hospital that’s not even built yet hailing itself as the hospital of the future. It will be a hospital IN the future, that’s for certain. But THE Hospital OF the Future? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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