healthcare building

The Doctor is Out(Patient)

Starting on January 1, 2011, 10,000 – yes, that’s ten thousand – members of the legendary Baby Boomer generation started celebrating their 65th birthdays … Every. Single. Day. These thousands of celebrations will continue for the next 15 years, until 2030 when the last members of the Boomers reaches that age.

And while Millennials are projected to soon surpass Baby Boomers as the largest living generation, it doesn’t lessen the effect that this aging population – nearly 74.9 million of them, ages 51 to 69 – are having on society.

We talk about them all the time: They’re moving from the suburbs to the city core. No, they’re not. They’re retiring earlier. They wish they’d worked longer.

What we can all agree on is the impact they’re having on the need for more health care facilities. On an already-strained health care system, their increasing necessity for care and access to a wide variety of facilities will shape the way health care centers are being scoped and developed across the nation.

The opportunity for real estate is a growing trend towards ambulatory care centers that offer services strictly on an outpatient basis. From diagnosis to observation to treatment to rehabilitation, these facilities offer comprehensive services during daytime hours and reduce the utilities, resources and investment typically needed for a hospital that operates 24×7.

Modern Heathcare says that ambulatory services account for approximately 60 percent of all U.S. hospital revenues today, compared to less than 15 percent in the early 1990s.

Healthcare Design Magazine says that trends in outpatient center design largely follows what office real estate has been incorporating for a decade – flexible spaces, new technologies, fewer walls. More common spaces are needed for group meetings that include patient advocates and family members, or for small-group classes on topics like diabetes or weight control.

Manhattan leads the nation in new ambulatory care space under construction, with an estimated 3.3 million square feet in development, says Health Facilities Management, citing Ravista data that also notes 1.9 million square feet of similar space is in development in metropolitan Washington, D.C.

“The Hutch” is an 11-story, 278,000 square foot ambulatory care center – formally named The Hutchison Campus and part of Montefiore Medical Center – in New York City’s Bronx borough. American Builders Quarterly recently profiled what Montefiore CEO calls “a hospital without beds,” citing its 12 operating rooms, four procedure rooms and seven floors of medical specialties. Their goal? “Keeping people healthy and out of the hospital.”

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