Ambulatory clinics have become a popular vehicle for growing healthcare networks. But before you make the investment in a new ambulatory clinic site, there are three important things you need to consider.
1. Does the trade area’s service line demand line up with what your clinic will offer?
Demand for specific types of healthcare services varies across the population base. Before you select a new ambulatory clinic site, you need to make sure that the healthcare demand in the area lines up with your planned service line offerings. If you open a cardiology clinic in an area with low demand for cardiology services, the clinic will struggle. Service line optimization studies can help you to see where demand for specific service lines is the highest so you can place your clinics in the right locations.
2. Is the location the right drive-time distance from your patient base?
Today, patients increasingly view healthcare services through a retail consumer lens and convenience is a prominent factor in their decisions. While the traditional real estate approach is to examine the number of households within a specified mile radius of a site, consumers ask, “how long will it take for me to drive to the location?” Patients are willing to drive farther for some types of healthcare services than for others, so know your magic drive-time number and look for sites that give you access to large groups of patients within that range.
3. Can the market support an additional ambulatory clinic in that area?
In addition to examining the demand for healthcare services around an ambulatory clinic site, you also need to study the current supply. Is the market already saturated with other healthcare providers offering the same services? Will adding a site cause too much patient migration (called “cannibalization” in the retail industry) from your existing clinics to support both locations? Look for sites that give you a net gain scenario…rather than a net loss.
If you are planning to grow your facility network and need help selecting ambulatory clinic sites, consider partnering with an analytics provider like Buxton. We can help you to understand your patients and markets so you can find the best opportunities to grow your organization.