By John O. Wilson, President of HSA PrimeCare
In a time when most information is available at the touch of a button, the average consumer has grown to expect quickness and convenience with every purchase they make; health care is no exception. These expectations, combined with recent regulatory requirements, have driven medical practices to alter their operations, focusing more on the patient’s convenience and long-term health. By implementing the medical home model of care, bundling services within a facility, and opening minute clinics in retail locations, health care providers are accommodating consumer needs in a way that requires adjustments from health care real estate developers as well.
Over the past several years, larger medical providers have been partnering with or purchasing independent physician groups to create systems that provide collaborative, multi-specialty services. These changes have popularized a model of care that is likely to have the largest impact on the way developers look at medical office in the future. Within the patient-centered medical home model of care, a primary physician coordinates a patient’s treatment with specialists within the larger health care system. Primary care physicians within this integrated medicine model typically operate on the same medical campus or within the same suite as specialists and have the ability to share files with ease, allowing for more effective and thorough communication and preventing potentially harmful medical oversight. This centralized system provides easy, convenient, and comprehensive care that appeals to the modern health care consumer and is transforming the way health care developers operate. With this model, health systems are looking at larger footprints as a result of the comprehensive scope of services. Developers need to adjust their building size to accommodate larger tenants. Hospitals are also implementing more efficient layouts that designate less square footage to common areas. The HSA PrimeCare team is currently implementing the medical home model of care, and setting new standards for health care facilities.
In addition to multi-specialty buildings, hospitals are moving specialty centers of care off campus. Health care systems are looking to develop buildings that provide a center of excellence in specialties such as orthopedics, cancer, or gastro intestinal. HSA PrimeCare’s recent development of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Ill. serves as a good example of how we as developers adjust to this requirement. The cancer center’s design includes a room with lead-lined walls and hookups for a CT scanner and a concrete vault to contain radiation from a linear accelerator machine, as well as an electrical hookup compatible with a rented PET scanner. The on-site accessibility of this equipment provides patients with complete medical care all at one facility. Not only does this speed up the diagnosis by preventing patients from postponing their tests or forgetting about them altogether, but for patients today, the convenience of walking down the hall for a test rather than driving across town is an influential factor in their decisions regarding health care.
Appealing to the modern patient’s need for a quick and convenient health care solution, minute clinics and urgent care centers are becoming a more attractive option. With the ability to stop in at any time to talk to a nurse practitioner and potentially walk out with the appropriate treatment or prescription, patients are more likely to seek consistent care. These clinics require either independent retail locations or space with easy access in a larger medical office facility. Advocate Good Samaritan Professional Building in Downers Grove, Ill. for example, is an HSA PrimeCare development that contains an Advocate Health Immediate Care Center. To establish a retail presence in our building, the center has additional signage out front and is located at the high-traffic entrance of the building. The health care industry is currently facing unprecedented pressure to improve financial returns. Health care is threatened by a confluence of powerful trends, increasing demand, and pressure to reduce cost. Real estate’s role will be to produce efficient, flexible, and economical buildings to house healthcare. New, comprehensive, patient-centered health care strategies that focus on long-term outcomes and preventative care have adjusted the way the HSA PrimeCare team looks at medical development. We will continue to observe the patient needs, the objectives of the providers, and technology advancements in healthcare and adjust our strategies accordingly. John O. Wilson is President of HSA PrimeCare, HSA Commercial’s healthcare real estate group. He leads a group of talented professionals specializing in healthcare real estate consulting, leasing, development and property management.
Having been in the industry more than 35 years, Wilson is one of Chicago’s most respected commercial real estate leaders. He has been successful in all aspects of the industry, including tenant representation, property management, real estate development, land transactions and owner representation. Wilson has negotiated hundreds of real estate transactions valued in excess of $1 billion.