In the Trenches with Alomere Health: Creating Wellness Through Community

By Rachel L. H. Bartling, AIA, LEED AP - Sr. Healthcare Development Manager 

Mortenson has conducted four national studies over the past five years surveying professionals in the healthcare industry regarding hot topics. Some of these topics include technology, delivery methods of projects, financing, and care delivery models. The professionals included have been architects, engineers, contractors, healthcare administrators and care providers. An important statistic from the 2018 study is that 45% of healthcare providers consider improving patient experience as the top priority over everything, even financing or aging infrastructure.

That said, creating an improved “patient experience” that will make everyone happy is easier said than done.  Patient experience is no longer just receiving care in a safe and comfortable environment. Cafes, self-rooming, wellness centers, hospital-at-home, and telehealth are all being demanded by patients. Many try to blame some of these trends on the millennials, however people at every age are demanding more due to immediate access to information.  Even my 86-year old grandmother understands the power of her smart phone! You go gran!

Beyond care delivery, technology, and political changes, healthcare systems still have to understand and be respectful of what each of their community needs. As many of the trends will be similar across the board, each community will have its own formula for what works. Many of the healthcare providers we partner with are part of very strong communities. Sometimes a very large portion of the population works at these community centers of health. As one can imagine, community outreach is crucial in keeping that strong tie. In one instance, Carl Vaagenes, CEO of Alomere Health, wanted to turn a long, yet appropriately designed connector corridor from the clinic to the new surgery center, into an art gallery. Carl wanted to connect with local artists and feature their work. The team went on an immediate search to provide a welcoming space for the grand opening event that would market the intentions as a community art gallery. 

Local artists were researched and sent an all-call to provide art for the grand opening. The art that was presented was absolutely stunning! During the event, community members toured the new space and were in awe of the incredible artwork that was created by the neighbors in their community. In turn, local artists enjoyed the opportunity to showcase their work, and graciously allowed Alomere Health to display their art following the event, until permanent pieces could be obtained. 

The grand opening made evident the community's interest in creating an art gallery within the hospital as well as provided a beautiful community display during the event. Alomere Health plans to continue the gallery as part of their community outreach and also plans on partnering with a donor to name this special space due to the positive feedback from community members.

It is exciting to be part of transformations like this in the ever-changing world of healthcare over the past 20 years of my life.  I personally love that healthcare is becoming more than just a place to heal the sick. These community centers are becoming true centers of health and wellness.