Medical Real Estate Outlook: It’s Time to Shift to Hub-and-Spoke Healthcare Delivery

The type of care that patients are seeking and receiving has changed significantly in recent years, with hospitals shifting their focus from providing urgent or emergency treatment towards general and preventive care. This change has been driven by several factors, with a general shift towards wellness, advances in medical technology, and the way that the Affordable Care Act handles billing and reimbursements among them. It’s a trend that’s going to continue.

The Hub-And-Spoke Model

One of the most significant changes for healthcare providers will be where care is provided. Changes to medical billing are incentivizing providers to keep patients out of the hospital, which means that primary and preventive care is instead being provided on an outpatient basis. Providers are aiming to ensure that patients seek care early on, and thus prevent chronic illnesses, providers are expanding their reach into suburban environments that are conveniently located close to patients’ residences and places of work. It’s an approach known as the “hub-and-spoke” model of healthcare provision, and it’s made possible by the confluence of many factors.

Trends Fueling the New Model

One major trend driving the new model is the move away from fee-for-service practice towards value-based care. Now, rather than being reimbursed based on volume and productivity, providers are incentivized based on the quality and efficiency of their care. This means that it’s in providers’ interests to provide team-based, holistic care that reduces referrals to hospitals. This is a trend that is anticipated to be written into billing codes over the next 20 years.

Also significant are the technological advances that make it possible for providers to undertake more procedures outside a hospital setting.

Testing, diagnostics, and minor surgical procedures can all be undertaken in an outpatient setting. This is beneficial to providers’ bottom lines while being far more accessible for patients, who increasingly see convenience as key to their healthcare experience.

This ties into the rise of hospitality-influenced clinical settings, which seek to provide a patient-centered experience from start to finish. Today’s patients expect convenience, comfort, and individualized treatment, and an outpatient setting is more easily able to provide these than a hospital-based environment.

It’s Time to Lean into Suburban Healthcare Expansion

The hub-and-spoke healthcare real estate model is fast becoming the norm, and hospitals that lag in this area risk losing business to more innovative providers. Hub-and-spoke providers can cluster essential outpatient facilities near hospitals in local communities, efficiently coordinating and communicating care, and reducing the emphasis on the hospital as the center of attention. With billing, technology, and consumer trends all pointing in the direction of the outpatient clinical environment, now is the time to make the shift.

GZ Realty specializes in helping healthcare professionals stay ahead of market trends. To discuss implementing a hub-and-spoke real estate strategy for your practice, get in touch.