The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed the Healthcare real estate trends with variations in patient expectations for services and operations. Even though health care systems have been robust in embracing all the advanced technologies, their long-term assets like real estate and supply chain administration have not been able to match the requirements appropriately. It is key for health care systems to be aware of current trends to take collective actions and impact their future decisions.
Healthcare Real Estate Trends in Covid-19:
Increase in Telehealth:
The rise of telehealth had already shown its effects on healthcare real estate even before the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. As people have seen the benefits of telehealth during the peak of Covid-19, it is expected to remain the same for much longer. Even though in-persons are being opened in some places, there will be some variation away from the telehealth, but the trend is surely here to stay for long. During Covid-19, many service providers spent more on in-person visits for extra safety and cleaning measures to curb the spread of the disease. The CMS norms that were reformed to support the Covid-19 measures allowed reimbursement for the provider with the same charges as in-person visits. But it is not sure if these charges will remain the same after the ease of Covid-19 or following the vaccine. Even though there may be a lack of reimbursement from authorities for virtual care delivery, telehealth usage will be a necessity if consumers demand the same. Even physicians have been satisfied with the video visit platforms. Covid-19 has already seen a decrease in the number of in-patient visits due to the easy availability of in-person visits to the hospitals and the trend continues to remain for a long. Service providers have to conscious of the effects on the healthcare real estate sector and the impact of telehealth on the industry.
Ease in Outpatient Services:
As people have seen the benefits of technology in using telehealth services, they are looking for accessibility and ease in the overall healthcare services than before. Healthcare systems may need to provide satellite offices in more concentrated regions to meet the needs of high demand inaccessibility. This may lead to less usage of traditional hospital settings. New CMS guidelines are inclining to value-provided care, less costly preventive care systems. There will be a need for more out of the box care delivery options like mobile vehicles going near a vulnerable population for providing crucial care services.
Nursing Home Issues:
Nursing homes have shown a continuous struggle during the covid-19 outbreak. They have been continuously facing challenges much before Covid-19 in operations and financial support. There was huge competition from assisted-living systems and home health care facilities giving adequate services. The pandemic upsurged the existing problems as some of the nursing homes did not have proper preparation for the outbreak. There was also a report of a significant number of patients losing their lives with positive corona-virus cases across many nursing homes in the country. This has affected the idea of safety and trust in these centers. Patients are looking for alternatives by looking for home health care options instead of traditional nursing homes. But there are some expectations for the senior housing industry to increase the growth in the coming years. As there is an enhancement of the aging population in the US, there will need for the kind of assistance provided by nursing homes and senior living facilities. This aspect has to be considered as a potential growing element in healthcare real estate.
Covid-19 has evolved new testing and diagnostic tools to be used, making healthcare services to reconsider their working systems and get the space for new ones to be ready in the facilities. Remote monitoring apps are highly employed in the market for home health care and telehealth managing systems. They have become easily available and affordable to common people along with federal data blocking requirements have let the information pass more easily.
The healthcare sector must carefully consider all the crucial elements and precautions across all levels of the system. With the changes in current situations, they have to analyze spending money in places that are valuable and necessary to run the system. It may be related to spending finances on aspects other than real estate like cleaning/sanitization equipment for personnel, buildings, etc. This may be essential for keeping the show running and to build a sense of confidence among visitors.
How Can Optimization Be Achieved in Health Care Real-Estate?
- Telehealth service is highly employed by both patients and physicians in the industry. Healthcare must properly blend the usage of this service along with traditional care, to ensure longevity in real estate.
- As social distancing is the need of the hour to stop the spread of the pandemic, there should be appropriate measures like smaller waiting facilities and the use of apps for providing the pre-waiting slots for patients. Healthcare systems must work together to know how to build a changed structure for easing the buildings for new hospitals. The traditional systems can be planned to be used to leverage for becoming a more useful and efficient system.
- Come out of expensive leases and opt for remote care and low-cost charge options to take full benefit of the telehealth facility and eliminate spaces that are of no use.
- Non-clinical working staff must be given leverage to a partial or complete remote working facility to save on operational costs.
Health care real estate systems should work to transform their assets work well in response to existing trends and consumer opportunities. It is crucial to adapt the changes to health industry norms, making it efficient to use all the facilities and optimize real estate aids with efficient healthcare real estate advisors like Zeustra. We advise private practices, healthcare systems, 1031 exchanges, private equity, pension funds, REITs, and related organizations in the acquisition and disposition of medical investment properties.