By Kathleen Morgan
COVID-19 has forced us to make changes in our daily life for our own safety and those around us. This is especially true of the healthcare real estate industry since the pandemic has had such a profound impact on all things healthcare. Here are some of the biggest real estate trends right now in the healthcare industry that will likely continue beyond the pandemic.
Increased Use of Telehealth
Perhaps the biggest change in healthcare as a whole is the skyrocketing popularity of telehealth. Pre-pandemic telehealth appointments were more of a niche offering by a select number of physicians. But in the pandemic, telehealth has become the rule rather than the exception. With so many new practices and patients having been introduced to this convenient way to do simple checkups, there’s no doubt it will be used much more in the future. This will impact healthcare real estate specifically because it will likely mean that some exam rooms are fitted specially for telehealth use.
More Off-Campus Treatment Options for Patients
COVID has opened the eyes of people all around the world to the reality that even with all our advancements in technology and medicine, the world is not invincible against the powers of infectious diseases. If we face another pandemic in this lifetime, healthcare facilities are going to want to be more prepared than they were for COVID-19.
One key change is more options for outpatient treatment centers. This is a key way that healthcare providers can keep those working with infectious diseases and their patients, separate from others to prevent further outbreaks. This can benefit your facility by also making things more efficient. We may even see the emergence of mobile healthcare such as vans going to patients to provide vaccines and simple health services.
Greater Interest in Sale-Leasebacks
With more hospitals having to turn away patients seeking elective procedures due to COVID, hospitals are suffering financially. To make up for the lost revenue, more healthcare facilities are looking to monetize their real estate, such as a sale-leaseback. This process allows physicians who own their buildings to sell them to real estate investors. However, the physicians get to keep practicing in the same building because they lease back the property from the new owner.