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Tech Innovation Will Drive Healthcare Real Estate, Somehow

When it comes to one day providing healthcare for Millennials, there better be an app for that. And that could further transform medical real estate.

Tech Innovation Will Drive Healthcare Real Estate, Somehow
CBRE Healthcare Capital Markets executive vice president Lee Asher

That was the message Wednesday morning during Bisnow's Atlanta Healthcare Leadership Forum, where panelists spoke about how technology revolutions in healthcare are already changing the face of real estate.

“There used to be rooms literally filled with files on patients,” said Lee Asher, executive vice president with CBRE's healthcare capital markets division. Now, the push for digital filing with healthcare systems has emptied those rooms. And medical space itself is becoming more tailored to “physicians carrying around some kind of tablet."

Tech Innovation Will Drive Healthcare Real Estate, Somehow
Atlanta Healthcare Leadership Forum panel 2017

Asher was part of a lineup of commercial real estate execs focused on the healthcare industry, including Piedmont Healthcare vice president of real estate Robert Simmons, Eastwood Real Estate Services CEO Christine Gorham, Physicians Realty Trust vice president Joshua Richmond, Ackerman Medical founder John Willig, Novant Health senior vice president of construction David Park and Tunrola Odelowo, a partner with the law firm Arnall Golden & Gregory.

Once relegated to rural hospitals, Gorham said telemedicine is making a surge in urban healthcare facilities to give physicians the flexibility to see patients. Other technologies out there include apps that ping doctors for at-home visits and even mobile emergency rooms.

Park said apps are becoming a big source of innovation with health systems. Already there are apps that can monitor heart rate and oxygen levels. But at some point, there could be apps to allow entire doctor visits with the patient never even getting out of their pajamas.

While health systems today are catering to the aging Baby Boomer population, the next big generation, Millennials, will be using healthcare much differently. They just do not focus on healthcare as a priority right now.

“To them, healthcare is 'I'm going to drink tonight and run tomorrow,'” Park said. “Who's your target, where are they now and where are they going to be tomorrow? For those born after '83, we have to take [healthcare] to you in an app.”

Tech Innovation Will Drive Healthcare Real Estate, Somehow
Novant Health senior vice president of construction David Park

“How soon will we get there? Don't know,” Park said. “But the equipment that goes in the [operating room] today is twice as much as the equipment 10 years ago. But it's also half the size.” 

Cutting-edge medical technology not only drives the value of the real estate, but panelists said it is also a viable recruitment tool for health systems.

“They're going to recruit the best physicians to come to their practice, because they got the coolest equipment and toys," Asher said.