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Building Today for a Healthy Tomorrow

August 2016
Blog
Author: Lisa Ellis
You know the old saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? For Florida Hospital in Orlando, it also takes a village to promote a healthier way of living.

As healthcare organizations face increasing pressure to integrate population health management strategies into their daily operations, as well as to promote healthy decision-making and keep residents healthy (rather than just treating them when they become ill), Florida Hospital recently took things a step further by working with a developer to create a wide-scale residential complex called Florida Hospital Health Village that also incorporates medical services and retail stores. This project, which is built on the foundation of population health, is one of the first efforts of this scope in the United States, and can serve as a strong model for other systems looking to branch out in this way. (You can learn more at https://www.floridahospital.com/health-village.)

Creating Sustainable Residential Living 

This village is part of a 15-year project to create a sustainable community. The complex is currently geared to healthcare professionals who work for the hospital, and as such, it incorporates a number of strategies into the mix to help them stay well. For instance, it’s walking distance from the hospital, encouraging employees to strike a healthy balance between work and home. It has a swimming pool, and an on-site fitness facility with yoga and Pilates classes to make it convenient for residents to engage in exercise on a regular basis. Well-designed common areas promote healthy socialization and opportunities for outdoor activities in the fresh air, and there are several apartment layouts designed to serve a wide range of family situations and spatial needs. It also offers easy access to an array of health services. The overall goal is to support a healthier lifestyle for employees and other health village residents, and to serve as a role model for the broader population.

I recently had a chance to speak with a spokesperson about the vision for this project. What I found was that within just over a year after opening, the complex had already achieved 85 percent occupancy—demonstrating that this concept strikes a real chord with people in the Orlando area, and perhaps even beyond.

The New Norm 

In the coming years, I suspect more healthcare organizations will follow in Florida Hospital’s footsteps with similar efforts, perhaps tailoring them for people of all ages and interests—and, ultimately, cementing population health management strategies as a “normal” way of living.

 
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