In the last few years, the number of medical centres that have changed their names has increased dramatically. The study was quite surprising because many hospitals have often re-branded themselves as new Adelaide Hills Medical Centre in the past few years, concerned that the phrase hospital was no longer old-fashioned. Both would include a range of medical services: primary care doctors, specialists, emergency room, surgery, and even psychologists, to name just a few.
What makes the switch from hospital to medical centre effective?
*Firstly, the new name gives the patients and families some confusion about what services the hospital offers instead of its sister clinics and hospitals around town.
*Second, the branding exercise also boosts revenue for the hospital, which could otherwise be affected if the community negatively perceives it.
*Finally, Adelaide Hills Medical Centre have made great strides in clinical service delivery to increase patient demand and the associated cost of providing quality health care.
Some communities have been critical of the move to change the name of medical care facilities. In a place where there are already high vacancy rates for physicians and nurses, adding a “high volume” medical centre will only push up the demand, pushing up costs even higher. Moreover, the quality of services provided may fall short of the high standards of care that have characterised medical care facilities in the past.
There is also some concern that the increased focus on branding in medical centres might hurt the quality of care. Many argue that the new “medical centers” will focus on expanding their portfolio of hospital-based services such as ambulatory surgery instead of offering comprehensive primary care for all patients. While it is true that some hospitals may suffer from shortfalls in services such as hospital-based surgery, this is not likely to be a widespread issue in most cities. On the other hand, even small medical centres could see a reduction in the number or quality of services provided if they were forced to provide these “core” hospital-based services against their will.
What about patient care in a “reinvented” Adelaide Hills Medical Centre? Some argue that hospitals will lose services traditionally offered by hospitals, with patients having to take more medications themselves, go to more doctors’ offices and clinics, and use more medical equipment. However, this argument overlooks that many patients who use the NHS or private medical care facilities do so because they cannot get services at a lower rate elsewhere. Those who have access to better health care through better infrastructure, innovative diagnostic and preventive care, shorter waiting periods and lower overall health care costs are likely to continue using these services.
Overall, changes in the name of medical care facilities are likely to have a very limited impact on patient care. Changes such as this one will likely affect how hospitals and clinics handle the paperwork and administrative tasks. This is not considered a significant change but is likely to have a minimal impact on patient care given the number of patients who already do these tasks efficiently. Those who find the current system of providing health care inconvenient or insufficient are unlikely to switch. Instead, many will opt to find other hospital locations in which to receive their medical attention.