TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES ARE CHANGING THE WAY WE DEVELOP MEDICAL REAL ESTATE. HERE'S HOW.
Between the ever-evolving impacts of healthcare reform and an increase in technologies that dramatically change the way we receive care, optimizing medical real estate is becoming more complicated and commercialized than ever before.
New medical centers continue to embrace innovation and buck the norm. As individuals become more educated on how best to seek and receive health care, providers will improve operations, enhance real estate footprints, and enrich overall service quality.
"We, as a body of people, must start making preventative decisions about our health," explains Tom Uriona, corporate real estate director at Intermountain Health Care. "A population-based model, can move healthcare consumers toward doing just that. There will be systems in place if people decide to take advantage of what is available."
A NEW APPROACH
Technology has become not only a facilitator to health care, but also a counter to an outdated fee-service model that drives escalated medical costs. "With the exception of trauma, critical, and acute needs, the old requirement for traditional hospital beds is going away," says Uriona. He explains that through technology, patients can receive an immediate diagnosis to more common ailments such as sinus infections or the flu. This changes the need for a doctor to be present in a physical space, which saves money otherwise spent on real estate.
"With so many new ways to communicate with patients, physicians don't necessarily need to be present to identify and treat a medical issue," says Dan Ford, senior agent at Colliers International. "Quality service for immediate medical needs could cost upwards of $700, however, if you use technology, the average cost is around $49. That is a significant savings."
In particular, rural communities greatly benefit from the expanded service capabilities of virtual visits. Doctors from larger cities can directly utilize technology to assist primary care physicians in rural areas, mitigating the need for Life Flight or extended travel. Specialists can provide advanced assistance for surgeries, labor and delivery and many other sophisticated care needs that require the expertise of a specialist.
"Technology is driving the future of healthcare. It provides a point of entry into a system that allows the consumer options," says Uriona. "This shift creates access to healthcare in a way like never...