by Matt Heidelbaugh, Executive Managing Director, Tenant Advisory Services
When I was a kid, healthcare was a lot more centralized than it is today. If you became seriously ill or needed surgery, you went to the local hospital. After all, that was your only option.
Today, you have a lot more choice in the matter. Of course, we still have hospitals, but newer facilities like outpatient surgery centers and standalone ERs are now available much closer to home. Plus, they’re designed to feel comfortable and inviting—a lot more like a hotel than the hospitals of my childhood.
A Focus on the Patient
What’s driving these changes? Namely, a move toward “healthcare consumerism,” which advocates patient comfort and convenience, as well as patient empowerment in healthcare decisions. Thanks to forces such as technological innovation and our on-demand culture, consumers are requiring a higher level of service from their healthcare providers.
As a result, surgery centers and ERs are popping up throughout large urban areas, as well as in smaller cities and towns, providing improved access for patients. I’ve recently worked with several medical office tenants that offer surgical or diagnostic imaging services in a stand-alone (non-hospital) setting—and there are more every year in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Telehealth services are also becoming increasingly popular, as doctors and specialists offer “virtual visits.” This service is ideal for patients who live far away from a traditional hospital or who only require a quick consultation.
Changes in CRE
It’s becoming increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all consumer strategy most likely won’t meet the diverse needs of today’s patients. But what does such a drastic change mean for the healthcare CRE industry? We’re seeing several trends take shape:
- Numerous hospital systems are partnering with or acquiring urgent care networks; traditional and new-entrant retailers are eyeing healthcare ventures; private equity firms are backing specialty physician groups; and major pharmacies are buying health insurance companies.
- Legacy healthcare providers are adopting new techniques, including moving closer to patients, offering urgent care, outpatient clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and even free-standing emergency departments or “microhospitals” closer to where patients live, rather than having every service located on or near a hospital campus.
- A growing number of companies are considering how to best incorporate tele-health services to augment their physical presence, particularly in less-populated areas of the country.
While these and other changes ripple out through the industry, it will be fascinating to see how the healthcare industry evolves over the coming years. Regardless of what comes, healthcare providers of all sizes can rest assured that the CRE industry will adapt alongside these fast-moving changes and innovations in healthcare delivery.
Executive Managing Director
Tenant Advisory Services