ters that can provide more efficient care. And regardless of any
changes which occur in the provision of health insurance,
experts say these trends will continue in 2017, and keep developers in the sector very busy.
Manish H. Shah, who just recently joined KTGY Architecture +
Planning as executive director, says the transformation of the
healthcare sector reminds him of how the world of retail has
evolved out of a need to cut costs and compete with e-commerce.
Shah, who leads KTGY’s growing healthcare design practice,
recalled a time when everybody wanted to go to malls, “and down-
towns across the country died out,” he says. But sometime in the
1990s, the big-mall concept began to fade and developers started
concentrating on smaller lifestyle centers and stores. “Healthcare is
going through something similar.”
Shah says that instead of giant, centralized hospitals, providers
are moving most preventative-care services, including primary care
physicians, off-site into medical-office buildings or clinics. The
main hospital in any system can then concentrate on providing the
more expensive specialist care.
“There was a time when you had to go to a hospital to get a simple MRI,” Shah adds. Today, though, a patient is more likely to have
such a procedure done in an off-site clinic. Furthermore, new
immediate-care centers, also dispersed across a wider area, have cut
down on visits to hospital emergency rooms, typically a tremendous
expense for healthcare systems.
RealShare panelist John Pollock, COO of Meridian, said that
this “retailization” of healthcare is about visibility and is here to
stay. “I don’t think it is a fad,” he said, adding that in some mar-
kets, though, it’s untenable in terms of cost and rents.
And panelist Gino Lollio, VP of investment at Marcus &
Millichap, said it’s really about convenience, cost and time for the
operator and the patient. If you can bring the services to patients’
daily commuting paths and get them in and out, then it works, he
said. “The other benefit of this trend is that it takes the pressure off
But the need for efficiency also means that providers want to
occupy less real estate overall, and that presents a challenge to
designers, says KTGY’s Shah. “At some point, they come to us and
say, ‘How can we do this?’”
One response has been consolidating some of the care now pro-
vided through clinics into one space. For example, Shah helped
design Sinai Community Institute’s new clinic for women on the
west side of Chicago. It will provide obstetrics, gynecology and
mammography services, but “we don’t have three distinct clinics,”
he says. “They are all connected and open.”
The designers did, however, utilize subtle methods, such as dif-
ferent color schemes and finishes, to distinguish how providers use
the space, he said. Construction will begin in April.
Likewise, Phil Soule, designer and principal of Cuningham
Group Architecture Inc., notes that a few of the latest trends in
hospital design he sees are more focused on outpatient and emergency departments.
“Primarily, what the hospitals are seeing is that the physicians
won’t take ACA insurance, and EDs are required to, so many of the
people who are on that brand of insurance are slamming EDs,”
Soule says. “It’s interesting because the goal of the whole thing was
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