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Choosing the right health care facility location has concerned health care occupiers for decades, and a new survey shows it could hold significantly more weight than other determining factors for patients choosing providers. A patient survey by JLL reveals that consumers want their health care facility located within their demographic center.  

Eighty-three percent of patients surveyed would prefer to be near their care, rather than driving further to a new or renovated facility. Seventy-one percent of patients exhibited this attitude by driving less than 20 minutes to their medical service. Meanwhile, only 36% of surveyed patients reported checking reviews prior to their appointment.  

“In dense, urban areas, health care competition is fierce, making it easier for consumers to find accessible care with public transportation and parking options,” says Jay Johnson, national director, JLL Healthcare Markets. “For rurally located patients, they’re likely more interested in cutting their drive time down than seeking a new facility so its unsurprising that they’re even less likely to check reviews than their urban counterparts.”

Consumer-friendly, patient-centric models of health care delivery have increasingly been embraced in recent years, as the retailization of health care has fostered greater accessibility.  According to JLL’s 2020 Healthcare Real Estate Outlook, ideal locations for both retail and health care share many common demand drivers, including high traffic and visibility, neighborhood proximity and parking access. 

“Providers understand that the two major groups driving care demand—millennial heads of households and the growing over-65 demographic—value preventive care that offers the ever-increasing possibility of a long, healthy lifetime,” says Richard Taylor, divisional president, JLL Healthcare Solutions. “There is an increasing demand for physical and virtual convenience.” 

Patients under 45 are far more likely to have a virtual component of their visit, according to the survey, as well as patients in higher income groups. While the acceleration of telehealth adoption may have been a forced necessity during the pandemic, implementation will likely continue to grow in the post-pandemic era as its ease and efficiency supports the patient call for health care convenience.

What patients notice most

Cleanliness and safety

  • For patients that were happy with the quality of their last experience, 76% rated the facility as clean and 68% indicated it was safe.
  • These were clearly the top two items of importance to patients—with the facility being well-staffed (58%) and ease of finding parking (55%) checking in at number 3 and 4 respectively.

Ease of access

  • Patients that indicated being unhappy with their last experience biggest gripe was with a lengthy wait time (34%) and not being adequately staffed (28%).
  • Unsafe (12%) and dirty/unsanitary (9%) were very low on patients’ issues with a poor experience.

“Interestingly, while patients that were happy with their visit mentioned the cleanliness and safety of a facility as a top reason for feeling positive about the experience, those that were unhappy had issues with staffing levels and wait times. Its clear that facilities need to focus on cleanliness and safety while also enhancing the patient experience through proper staffing to improve efficiency. If a patient is frustrated with the process of gaining access to care, they are unlikely to even notice the other qualities of the facility,” Taylor says.   


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