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Transforming a Hospital Health Club into a Medical Fitness Center

May 10, 2024

A hospital health club is no longer just a place for exercise; it offers a ready-made starting point for evolving into hubs for medical fitness. Gone are the days when hospitals solely focused on treating illnesses and injuries. The emphasis is now on proactive measures to prevent health issues before they arise.

A medical fitness center is more than just a gym. It integrates medical supervision, personalized exercise programs, nutritional guidance, and lifestyle coaching to comprehensively address individual health needs. Unlike commercial gyms, these centers are staffed with healthcare professionals like exercise physiologists, physical therapists, nutritionists, and physicians who collaborate to design and oversee tailored wellness plans for each member.

Making the transformation from a hospital health club to a medical fitness center can be difficult. Power Wellness has successfully guided many clients through this transition. We recommend starting by:

  • Shifting the facility from promoting the hospital brand to promoting population health management.
  • Serving the “deconditioned, at-risk” population instead of the commercial gym-goers.
  • Adding programming for people with chronic conditions.

 Let’s explore each of these points:

1. Shift from hospital brand promotion to population health management promotion:

  • Traditionally, hospitals focused on promoting their brand across all facilities and service lines, including their health club. However, health care as a whole has notably shifted towards emphasizing population health management.
  • Population health management involves strategies aimed at preventing diseases, promoting healthy lifestyles, and addressing social determinants of health. This shift recognizes the importance of not just treating illness but also promoting wellness and preventing health issues before they arise.
  • To successfully make this shift, a hospital health club should increasingly invest in launching and promoting initiatives that go beyond fitness. Examples include community health education programs, preventive screenings, chronic disease management, and partnerships with local organizations to address broader health concerns within their communities.

2. Serving the “deconditioned, at-risk” population instead of the commercial gym-goers:

  • Many hospital-based fitness centers have acted like traditional fitness centers, catering to individuals who are already relatively fit and motivated to engage in regular exercise. However, there is a growing recognition of the importance of targeting populations that may be deconditioned or at risk of health issues due to sedentary lifestyles, chronic diseases, or socioeconomic factors.
  • By shifting focus to serve the “deconditioned, at-risk” population, a hospital health club can not only set itselve apart from commercial gyms, but it can also play a crucial role in promoting health equity and addressing disparities in access to exercise and wellness resources.
  • Fitness centers affiliated with a hospital have a crucial advantage with their built-in access to wellness expertise. Providers, clinicians, and fitness specialists can design tailored exercise programs that cater to the specific needs and limitations of individuals with varying fitness levels and health conditions. This results in a hospital health club that offers a supportive and inclusive environment, encouraging participation from individuals who may feel intimidated or marginalized in traditional gym settings.

3. Adding programming for people with chronic conditions:

  • Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and arthritis are significant contributors to the global burden of disease. Effective management of these conditions often requires a combination of medical treatment, lifestyle modifications, and ongoing support.
  • A hospital health club that evolves into a medical fitness center must first enhance its offerings by developing specialized programming tailored to the needs of individuals living with chronic conditions. This may include structured exercise programs designed to improve cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength, and overall functional ability while considering any physical limitations or medical concerns. It also means going beyond fitness, offering nutrition education, stress management techniques, and peer support groups to address the multifaceted nature of managing chronic illness.
  • By providing targeted programming for people with chronic conditions, hospital affiliated fitness centers empower individuals to take an active role in managing their health, improve their quality of life, and potentially reduce the need for medical interventions or hospitalizations. This approach aligns with the broader goals of population health management and contributes to better health outcomes for the community.

The transformation of a hospital health club into a medical fitness center epitomizes the evolution of healthcare towards a more holistic, patient-centered model. The three initial steps start the process of integrating medical expertise with fitness facilities and wellness programs, resulting in medical fitness centers that empower individuals to take charge of their health and vitality. As this trend continues to gain momentum, it promises to redefine the landscape of preventive care and wellness promotion, ultimately creating healthier and happier communities.

Learn More About Our Medical Fitness and Population Health Management Solutions.