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Don’t Expect Patients to Come to Providers Much Longer, Experts Warn

The days when patients went out of their way to see health providers, whether primary care or specialists, is quickly coming to an end. Today, patients want convenience, and if they don’t get it, they’ll find another provider. That’s the message from experts who spoke during Connect Healthcare on a panel titled Bold Ideas and Innovations Transforming Healthcare.

“You can’t just plant a flag and expect patients to come to you,” said Medicus Property Group’s George Scopetta. The firm operates six coworking locations in greater San Diego to help physicians serve a larger, more geographically-dispersed patient base.

Monarch Senior Living’s Frank Haffner moderated the panel, which unanimously agreed that providers across the care spectrum—from health systems to assisted living operators—are trying to find better ways to serve patients and are focusing on telemedicine and alternative care models such as home health and retail clinics.

“We make people sicker in hospitals a lot of times,” said Dignity Health’s Jeffrey W. Land. “The model is flawed, so we’re pushing people out of hospitals. How do we serve the population where they work, play, live, and keep them healthier in the process?”

Land discussed Dignity’s JV with Contessa Health, pointing to it as an example of a health system trying to generate better outcomes for its patients by providing care at home rather than in hospitals.

Ease and convenience are just two reasons why telemedicine and home care are growing so fast, noted Catalyst’s Debbie Jacobs. She added that both providers and patients are keen to move care away from acute care settings, not only because it’s cheaper, but also because it’s better for the patient.

Anthem Memory Care’s Isaac Scott explained that his company is bringing healthcare back into its seniors communities in an effort to keep residents healthier and to make it easier for them to receive care. In addition to a 24-hour nurse, the communities also bring in physical therapists and physicians.

Pooling resources and partnerships are the key to successful healthcare delivery, according to Silverado Senior Housing’s Paul Mullin. Additionally, he believes more and more health systems and hospitals will pare back the number of beds and facilities they operate, which will create adaptive reuse opportunities.

Jacobs predicted that both small and large health systems will spend the next few years assessing and rationalizing their real estate. She expects many of them to divest assets because they’re no longer strategically valuable.

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