Concern about healthcare is everywhere—in the news, our politics, and definitely our wallets. As a facility planner and developer of healthcare real estate for the past two decades, I’ve witnessed a few cycles of delivery models, legislation, and what works in healthcare facilities.
Recently, I was reminded of the impact that real estate and facilities have on the delivery of healthcare in the marketplace. As I was traveling to give a speech for a milestone on a building project in Connecticut, I was feeling sick and needed to visit the hospital’s imaging and emergency departments. It was a great reminder that it’s the personal experience that cements our perspectives as consumers.
While my physician and patient experience were positive during my outpatient care visits and treatments, three things screamed out at me: location, location, and location. As a consumer, location is paramount, especially with how and where we access our healthcare. If standard care is not deemed convenient, we will look to other alternatives. Although I was escorted through my patient care stops, the paperwork, distance, and the maze of travel between the hospital departments was mind-numbing. Once I received my diagnosis, I went searching for a retail pharmacy after-hours and in the vicinity of the hospital campus.
Today’s effective and preferred healthcare facilities are ones that take into account the location best suited to serve the community, the patients, physicians, and staff. The real estate needs to be located in prime retail and commercial corridors, with access to complementary health and retail programs. The parking and entrances to the facility must be convenient, close, and accessible. A patient must clearly understand the path to follow once in the facility. Patients want to access not only their child’s pediatrician, primary care physician, or specialist, but also receive a blood draw, get an x-ray, and fill prescriptions at the conclusion of their visit. Point of service, convenience, and one-stop shopping shape our expectations and desires for healthcare.
To recap, here’s what we’re looking for from our physician and hospital provider location:
- Proximity to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, our kids’ schools, and sports venues
- A combination of health and retail services
- Convenient and sufficient parking
- Ease of navigation
- Warmth, hospitality and comfort
Next time, we’ll highlight how real estate can improve the quality of patient care through collaboration, the elimination of waste, and cost savings.
Stephen Buckeridge is senior managing director of real estate at Present Values.