Is Healthcare the new Retail Therapy?

Retail therapy has long been associated with time spent at a shopping centre to unwind, relax and buy items to “feel better”. This saying has now become fact in today’s healthcare landscape, with medical and healthcare facilities located within retail centres around the world.  And it makes sense in today’s time-poor and convenience-driven society.

Today, healthcare clinics based within retail centres have become as common as a café or clothing store, and these facilities are built with customer convenience at their very core. This is further enhanced by using a purpose-built healthcare facility design, incorporating retail-inspired experiences throughout. Those with experience in both (like Innova) understand the need to create an easy way for patients to visit a healthcare clinic and feel good about the experience.

“It’s not just about location” says health and wellness strategist, Dan Stanek. “There’s an urgent need—and growing opportunity—to reinvent the healthcare experience by adapting key retail principles to design outpatient “stores.”  Reason being: Healthcare is being located where people are already going on a regular basis.

 And there are statistics to provide he’s correct.

According to Bain, a US health consulting firm, the statistics are impressive. The number of healthcare clinics and facilities operating within retail-based centres has soared by 34 percent in the past decade and is on track to continue its positive upward trend.  Additionally, Australia is leading the way in Asia-Pacific with most of these clinics trending “toward ophthalmology, dental, primary care and health clinics”.

Another healthcare consulting firm, The Advisory Board, reports outpatient growth is on track to increase over 58 percent in the next 10 years, with much of this trending towards retail-based locations.

So why the shift to retail?  Economics, ease of use and customer experience.

The fact that the emergence and ease of online shopping has negatively impacted traditional bricks and mortar retail centres is well known. However, this has also created the opportunity through necessity to attract not only customers but new retailers to their centres.

Established facilities

Shopping centres have long been centrally located to entice locals to frequent their shops with ease and accessibility.  With these locations already established, and already part of the customer’s shopping experience, placing a healthcare facility within these centres guarantees exposure and visitation. This adds the value of advertising without extra expense of establishing brand presence for a new facility’s location.

Medical fitouts also become easier to design, with the infrastructure of the centre already in place. Even further, many medical facilities are even becoming located within established chemists and health and beauty franchises to further extend their established offering.

Time is money

With the pressures and constraints of everyday life, customers are looking for the most efficient use of their time, which in turn saves them money.  Therefore, it stands to reason that including a healthcare facility in the same location they shop for food and clothes meets this need.

Designed for the Customer to Enjoy

One thing that has not changed in the medical facility experience is the need to design and create a space with functional fitouts that also appeal to the customer’s eyes and comfort levels.  This involves everything from its layout and lighting to clinical convenience and cleanliness, which requires a medical fitout expert to bring all of this together.