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GlobeSt.com: Challenges to MOBs in Retail Settings

by Carrie Rossenfield

TUSTIN, CA—The ever-present issues of traffic circulation and parking require a collaborative effort to ensure uses are compatible and feasible and not disruptive to the community, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian’s Sanford Smith, SVP, real estate, facilities, construction and operations, tells GlobeSt.com. The hospital recently announced plans to develop a new 60,000-square-foot medical-office building, Hoag Health Center Tustin, at the 22-acre retail center the Village at Tustin Legacy, which is currently being developed by Regency Centers. We spoke exclusively with Smith about the benefits and challenges to locating medical offices in retail settings and how he sees medical offices changing as healthcare delivery continues to evolve.

GlobeSt.com: What are the benefits of locating medical-office buildings in retail centers such as the Village at Tustin Legacy?

Smith: The primary benefit of locating medical-office buildings in retail centers is that it brings quality healthcare right to the community, where it is easily accessible and convenient. The American healthcare model is shifting from one that requires people to come to a hospital for care to one that provides these important resources within the community.Also, technology is continually helping healthcare to evolve, further creating a seamless experience for patients. For example, through integrated technologies that Hoag has helped pioneer, imaging and other procedures can be conducted and analyzed from a remote location -- such as a community-based medical building—allowing physicians and nurses to provide comprehensive, high-quality virtual and physical care anywhere at any time.

GlobeSt.com: What are the challenges?

Smith: One of the challenges with locating medical office buildings in retail centers is working through the ever-present issues of traffic circulation and parking. Many cities don’t yet have experience in integrating these types of uses in community retail centers, and so planning and designing them requires a collaborative effort to ensure the uses are compatible and feasible, and not disruptive to the community.

Globest.com: How do you see medical office buildings changing as health care needs and demands change?

Smith: We are seeing a further distribution of health-related facilities throughout communities, not just into retail environments, but also office and residential settings. For example, the St. Joseph Hoag Health Wellness Corners are bringing healthcare services directly to residents in local apartment communities. The model is going to continue to evolve rapidly to meet the emerging demands of a changing demographic. St. Joseph Hoag Health is also bringing health services to workplace communities like the Wellness Corner at Jamboree Center. The Wellness Corner is an onsite health center that offers a variety of services to the center’s office tenants and their employees.The role of technology—and Hoag’s commitment to pioneering and adopting it to enhance our patients’ healthcare experiences—really can’t be overstated. Technological advances allow us to provide immediate care, subsequent analysis and follow-up in community-based locations that are connected to, but physically removed from, our hospital campuses.

GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about this topic?

Smith: This is a period of exciting innovation. Projects such as Hoag Health Center Tustin are an evolution of the old model of hospital-centered care. As the model continues to shift to a more consumer-centric community approach, you’ll begin to hear much more about the importance of convenience and lifestyles and consumer-centric services and programs.The importance of quality health care has always been at the forefront in our industry, but Hoag is now integrating quality and convenience in exciting and innovative ways. Together, in the comprehensive St. Joseph Hoag Health network, this focus will benefit thousands of Orange County residents.