As hospitals evolve to meet the changing healthcare landscape, medical malls have begun popping up all over the country.
With many healthcare reform initiatives aimed at reducing inpatient admissions, healthcare organizations are relying less on inpatient volume as a revue source and are beginning to invest in outpatient offerings. Patients also prefer outpatient care because it is often cheaper and more convenient than hospital care. It’s what the patients want, and it’s where the money is. Medical malls offer a one stop shop for outpatient healthcare services, housing a collection of outpatient clinics, doctor’s offices, and urgent care centers all under one roof. Healthcare organizations that have embraced the idea often own and operate buildings, which is home to many of their outpatient departments as well as external practices and businesses that pay rent. These satellite locations allow hospitals the ability to treat outpatient patients in more comfortable accommodations while still maintaining their main campus to treat the sickest patients.
Developers have begun investing in medical malls as well, constructing new state-of-the-art buildings specifically to house medical malls and managing them much like a shopping center. Independent practices and companies pay rent for their unit. Some developers have even begun to convert closed hospitals into new medical malls. For example, developers in New Jersey have been converting closed hospitals to medical malls since 2008. Old emergency departments have become urgent care centers and former operating rooms now facilitate outpatient procedures. In some cases, medical malls offer many of the same services that a hospital would provide. In other cases, the variety of services may actually be more diverse than that of a hospital.
In a recent article for HealthLeaders Media, Philip Betbeze wrote, “The hospital of the future doesn’t look much like a hospital at all. Instead, it’s a cohesive amalgamation of plenty of outpatient modalities that represent growth in healthcare.”