When it comes to healthcare, there is no shortage of demand for convenient and cost-effective providers. As a result, the American Healthcare System has shifted its focus toward creating outpatient urgent care clinics as a low-cost alternative to hospital emergency rooms.
The Urgent Care Centers industry now represents one of the fastest growing segments of the American Healthcare System. There are 340 walk-in clinics and 209 urgent care centers located in Pennsylvania alone. Depending upon where you live, it may feel like there is an urgent care clinic on just about every street corner, but the strategy behind choosing the right real estate space for an outpatient clinic is well researched and carefully considered.
Real Estate Strategy for Urgent Care Locations
Urgent care clinics are commonly located in retail settings that offer high visibility and foot traffic. Shopping centers and free-standing buildings that are located near big box stores, restaurants and food/drug retailers are among the most attractive spots. It’s vital to the success of the clinic that its location be easy to find, have free and convenient parking, and appear clean and attractive.
Aside from the physical aspects of the real estate space, urgent care clinics must also consider the demographics of the market they will serve. A highly viable market will demonstrate substantial health needs that are not currently being met by hospitals’ emergency rooms, due to limited access and long wait times. Next, the market should also have a favorable payer mix of patients who are either covered by insurance or have the ability to pay out-of-pocket.
In addition to these industry-specific considerations, traditional real estate data should also be taken into consideration. The number of residential homes, income levels and location of competitors will also have an impact on determining the best location for an urgent care clinic. As a business that relies hugely on walk-in traffic, the look and location of a clinic is as important as the care it provides.
PinnacleHealth Enters Urgent Care Industry
In Central Pennsylvania we have seen the success of a growing urgent care group that was founded in Silver Spring Township in 2010. AllBetterCare Urgent Care Center opened its first location on the Carlisle Pike and now has two more locations in South Middleton Township (Cumberland County) and Susquehanna Township (Dauphin County). The company says it has seen almost 100,000 new patients since its founding, which makes sense as to why PinnacleHealth announced its affiliation with AllBetterCare that will be completed this fall. The two healthcare businesses share the same desire to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and decrease emergency room wait times for patients.
Pinnacle’s move into a new sector of the healthcare system aligns with its overall growth strategy to diversify its healthcare services and enter new markets across Pennsylvania. The company recently acquired four mid-state hospitals including Carlisle Regional Medical Center (Cumberland County), not far from two AllBetterCare locations. Pinnacle has also committed to construction of a new campus in York County which will replace the existing Memorial Hospital and continues to work on an affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Diversifying Pinnacle’s healthcare services and facilities also means diversifying its real estate portfolio. Affiliating itself with AllBetterCare will serve to help Pinnacle reduce the burden on its hospitals, alleviating the need to expand emergency rooms or construct new facilities that would come at a much larger cost, and risk, than simply making outpatient urgent care clinics more readily available. The partnership between AllBetterCare and Pinnacle is a step in the right direction, not just for the businesses’ bottom-line, but for access to quality healthcare for hundreds of thousands of patients across Pennsylvania.
Have you used an outpatient urgent care clinic? What about the facility and its location made you choose it over another option? Share your insight and experience by leaving a comment!