Convenience is essential to consumers… even when they’re choosing a medical office to visit.
That came to light in a recent survey from JLL, showing that 71% of consumers traveled 20 minutes or less to receive care.
“In terms of selecting a site for care, 83% are likely to prioritize the convenience of that location over other factors, such as the quality of the facility,” says Jay Johnson, JLL National Director of Health Care Markets. “And then it shows actually in their behavior.”
If a retail center provides anything, it’s convenience. That can be a selling point to medical groups. “If they’re thinking like retailers, they’re behaving like retailers and they’re trying to achieve convenience like retailers, maybe they ought to be in retail spaces with retail properties,” Johnson says.
Right now, there is an oversupply of retail space in the market, according to Johnson. “You’ve got a lot of vacancies and a lot of available property,” he says. “Retail is well located for a lot of healthcare activities, and it’s available. So those are two things that make a good match.”
Over the years, outpatient services have moved away from hospitals. As health systems work to attract and retain patients, convenience has become even more critical.
Patients demand the ability to quickly get in and out of the doctor’s office, among other things.
“The health system is trying to get closer to the patients and provide the solutions that are more convenient for them,” Johnson says. “It’s not just the location where they [patients] can get to them, but also what they do in those locations. So, in many cases, the patients don’t have to necessarily go from one facility to another facility.”
One way to offer that convenience is to lease to complementary practices. But understanding what practices complement each other isn’t easy.
“There is a lot of complexity with the types of specialties when it comes to whether it’s primary care or specialty care,” Johnson says. “But some things go together well. They can co-locate and build synergy and build convenience for the patient.”
If landlords can understand how those different specialties interact and attract complementary practices, they can gain an advantage.
“If they want to be competitive, they’re going to have to make sure that their care is convenient,” Johnson says. “It may be within their existing system and also versus their competitors.”
Simple things also matter. Things like how the patient interacts with the health system and the physician, ease of parking and navigation through the parking lot or garage matter. The customers also care about clean, well-lit and pleasant medical facilities.
“Really appealing to the consumer experience beyond just the actual moment of care, the care that’s actually administered and whether or not that care is effective is important,” Johnson says.