The Latest Trends in Healthcare Real Estate

The Latest Trends in Healthcare Real Estate

IRVINE, CA—Shifting tenant improvements, behavioral health and environmental-conservation trends are just a few areas where the healthcare real estate realm is changing, NAI Capital’s SVP and director of healthcare services Sonya Dopp-Grech tells We spoke exclusively with Dopp-Grech after she attended a recent healthcare real estate conference in Orange County to find out the latest trends in the field.

The average square footage per physician is decreasing as physicians continue to give up their private offices in favor of a more collaborative environment, says Dopp-Grech. “Shared work areas are becoming the norm for administrative and charting functions. At the same time, more space is being dedicated to patient serving areas such as larger, more inviting exam rooms; larger, more inviting waiting rooms; and other patient areas are being designed to make each patient’s visit more pleasant and lounge-like. Comfortable chairs, upgraded lighting and décor, free patient Wi-Fi and other perks are all designed to attract and retain patients as well as improve the overall patient experience. Patient satisfaction is becoming increasingly important as competition for patients, particularly more-profitable PPO patients, intensifies.”

Regulatory requirements are also having an increasing impact on medical real estate, says Dopp-Grech. “Requirements, such as Title 24 [standards for the reduction of energy use in California], are having a great impact on construction costs, and contractors are reporting that Title 24 modifications are in some cases adding $8 to $10 per square foot to traditional office build outs and $20 to $30 per square foot to medical build outs. Additionally, many hospitals throughout California are still grappling with how they are going to comply with seismic upgrade requirements.”

Behavioral health is seen as one of the most underserved needs in the medical community, she adds. “It is anticipated that some current and former hospital properties will be repurposed to address the shortage of behavioral-health services. Many hospitals see this as a growth area, particularly considering that a disproportionate percentage of emergency-room visits involve behavioral-health needs. As a constantly evolving concern, the hospitals that can best figure out how to treat these patients in the most cost-effective manner and minimize emergency-room services will be best poised to succeed.”

The drought is also being addressed by the medical community, Dopp-Grech says. “At this point, everyone has heard about the ongoing drought in California, but did you realize how much water conservation has become a big focus among hospitals and large groups?  One major hospital group recently reported that their goal is to reduce water consumption by 60% on new projects and get to net zero by the year 2020. Others are implementing water-recycling programs, grey-water use where appropriate and of course conservation. It’s all about rethinking the norm and becoming more efficient.”

By Globe

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