The Future of “Medtail”

Many industries and verticals have changed to meet the consumer demand for convenience. Healthcare is a prime example. Consider the variety of options that are available to anyone who’s seeking medical attention: private practices, hospitals, urgent care centers, and a resurgence of “medtail.” You may not be familiar with this term, but you’ve seen it in your own neighborhood. It is particularly noteworthy because it impacts not one, but two, verticals—medical and retail.

What is “medtail”?

The term “medtail”—hybrid of “medical” and “retail”—refers to the business arrangement of a retail center leasing space to a medical facility. And this arrangement has been operating in one form or another for quite a while. For instance, is the vision center or dental office you’ve been visiting for years located in a mall—be it a small strip or large, multi-store space? If yes, you are having your eye and dental care taken care of in a medtail space. Even when you visit a CVS (see below) or Walgreens, you are entering what may be considered a medtail space. Over time, other types of healthcare practices and specialties have sought out space in retail locations, and continue to do so.

Two medtail examples from the past…

Here are two examples of medtail in action from several years ago, which may be seen as “writing on the wall” to its ever-expanding presence:

  • In 2018, CVS closed a $69 billion merger with Aetna, respectively combining pharmacy service with insurance service in what CNBC referred to as “a new healthcare powerhouse.” Complementing this merger was the addition of more advanced health services, including helping patients who’ve been discharged from hospitals with their after-care procedures.
  • In 2019, CNN reported on the addition of a 2,300-square-foot clinic to the Mall of America® in Bloomington, MN, that included a radiology room, medical exam rooms, and pharmacy center. That medical center is the M Health Fairview Walk-In Clinic – Mall of America.

Medtail today

Those news items were then. This is now. Due to the ongoing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, the combination of medical facility-and-retail space is projected not to grow—but mushroom. A recent article on the commercial real estate site, ConnectCRE, commented on the accelerating pace of establishing medical facilities in retail spaces. Willie Hoag, founder of real estate advisory company, Tether Advisors, believes this marriage of medical practice-and-retail space will be beneficial all-around: Empty or abandoned spaces that once housed a variety of traditional businesses have the opportunity to be transformed into modern medical facilities, which in turn will give people greater access and convenience to care, especially to specialty services (pediatrics, orthopedics or alternative medicines, like acupuncture or cannabis dispensaries) creating what Mr. Hoag terms, “a healthier society.”

Expect then, to see medtail establishments coming soon to your local neighborhood—if one or more are not there already.

Medtail in the future

Those who are in the healthcare sector should prepare for what may be opportunities they might never have imagined. While it is unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the reason for this drastic increase in the need for medtail space, once the crisis either passes or is minimized, the demand for more convenient and accessible healthcare will remain. And healthcare facilities that either are or may convert to a medtail space must be prepared to meet this demand.

Preparing…

An essential factor that each healthcare practice must consider and prepare for is its online presence. Whether it’s a lone local medical office or a set of franchises within a particular region, every bit of information about a practice that is available for thousands to view online must be accurate and complete. A lot of competition is already out there, and it is going to increase. Anything from an inaccurate address listing to a few negative reviews will alienate potential patient/customers.

Helping to prepare…

The purpose of a healthcare practice is to help people who need medical attention. But healthcare practices also need help and attention, especially where their own health (online, that is) is concerned. Raydeus pays attention. This marketing platform oversees all online client activity on a real-time digital dashboard. Google My Business listings, local listings, and paid search are only a few among many of the features that are monitored on Raydeus. In short, Raydeus may be the medicine that healthcare facilities lacking in online presence may be looking for.

If you are in healthcare, and are wondering how to strengthen and promote your facility’s presence in these dramatically changing times, contact EGC today. We have extensive experience in healthcare marketing, and can provide answers to your questions, and offer guidance in making your medical practice’s presence known.

Stay strong and stay safe.