A Q&A with Travis Epperson:
A recent hire of the Darden team, we sat down with Travis Epperson to learn more about his journey, and how he landed in the role he holds today. We also took the opportunity to talk to him about the effects of COVID-19 on the healthcare market and trends he foresees for the future.
A: I was actually introduced to construction in high school. So, as I entered college, I decided to pursue a degree in building construction and construction management. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say this again. This was the best decision I ever could have made. I entered the workforce as a field engineer, also served as a concrete foreman and assistant superintendent on multiple project types, one of which was a skilled nursing facility in Atlanta. This project sparked my love for healthcare, as I had the realization that these buildings help people and save lives. From that point on, I was hooked on building and managing the building of facilities in healthcare. I wanted to help healthcare systems live up to their desire to provide good patient care.
A: Wow! What a year it’s been, huh? COVID-19 has changed so much for all of us personally and professionally, but to focus on the question you posed, the pandemic has certainly advanced the adaptation of virtual design. People, specifically hospital leaders and design teams, are now more comfortable with meeting virtually and developing design in a virtual environment. On a multi-million-dollar hospital you may have hundreds of people providing input for the various departments within a hospital project. Leveraging virtual saves time and money on travel expenses and accelerates the process altogether.
A few other adaptations born from COVID-19 are the trend towards tele-medicine and the adoption of flexible patient care space. You may see tele-health cubes become more common in outpatient projects and hospitals are exploring ways to ensure their space can respond to patient needs in times of crisis. There have been some great advancements in positive/negative pressurization and isolation room conversions from this Pandemic. Overall, the trend is leaning towards better preparedness.
A: Keeping up with the news, we are seeing a lot of larger hospitals buying the smaller community hospitals. With consolidation, there will be a rising need for outpatient buildings and services. The overarching goal will be to bring the facilities and services closer to the people that need care. Advancements in healthcare delivery are moving more procedures to an outpatient setting,
We are definitely seeing this on a local level in Georgia. Many larger health systems are buying the smaller hospitals, which seems to make sense for all. This model can be more financially sustainable, while serving the need for patient care at a local level.
About the author: With a primary focus on healthcare, Travis Epperson has delivered more than $1.3-billion-dollars of projects throughout his career. His resume represents projects with clients such as Piedmont Healthcare, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, and WellStar Health System. He has long been an advocate for project owners and a leader of project teams.