May 24, 2019

The retailization of health care

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

Health clinics are coming soon to a retail storefront near you, Modern Healthcare reports, citing reports from several consulting firms.

By the numbers: The number of health care tenants in retail spaces has risen 47% over the past 3 years, and could double by 2022.

  • "It's the Walmart or Kmart that went out of business," Greg Hagood, senior managing director with SOLIC Capital, told Modern Healthcare. "You pull right up. The parking is easy. The patient is likely to come more often."

The bottom line: Everybody involved seems to like this idea. And it's not just pharmacies and walk-in clinics. Complex specialties like oncology are also looking to storefronts.

  • Empty retail space is an attractive option for clinical practices that have gotten frustrated with the high overhead costs on hospital campuses. And a storefront is a good branding opportunity.
  • Landlords like medical tenants, too — they generally have good credit and sign longer leases than traditional retailers would.

The big question: Will this trend help lower health care spending, by shifting care out of expensive hospital settings? Or will it increase them by driving more utilization, the way retail space was designed to do?

Go deeper: Medicare gives hospital clinics a pay cut

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