Medtail: Just what the Doctor Ordered?
The past decade has seen an explosion in consumer products and services going digital—especially during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can order your groceries, have your clothes dry-cleaned and your car detailed without ever leaving your home. While companies like Teledoc have created a realm of virtual health care, many medical procedures and other healthcare services still demand physical space outside of a patient’s home. Consumers are increasingly seeking convenience in their daily tasks and errands, and medical appointments are no exception. Enter medtail.
As the name may suggest, medtail is the idea of bringing medical services to retail spaces located in mixed-use developments or other pedestrian friendly areas. Most commonly, medtail encompasses dentist offices, dermatologist offices, eyecare services, counseling and other mental health services, and other less invasive or non-invasive medical services.
With an aging baby boomer population and waning demand for traditional retail brick and mortar space, medtail presents a unique opportunity for investors and landlords. Medtail tenants are leasing vacant urban storefronts and empty retail space in large suburban shopping malls. Landlords are eager to welcome well-funded medical tenants who tend to sign longer-term leases than traditional retail tenants. As many commercial landlords saw rental rates subside and retail tenants fold during the pandemic, medical tenants providing essential services offer long-term viability for retail landlords. Medtail also draws additional patrons to retail centers, especially during the daytime on weekdays, which tend to be retail’s slowest hours.
From a medtail tenant perspective, setting up shop in a retail space often saves costs, as retail rents are usually cheaper and space is more readily available than in traditional medical office parks and hospital campuses. Utilizing existing buildout and infrastructure within a traditional retail space or shopping center further reduces construction and permitting costs. Additionally, medtail tenants benefit from retail locations’ higher visibility and increased foot traffic.
As people seek greater accessibility and convenience from their healthcare providers, medtail offers a solution, and Americans appear to be welcoming the medtail trend. No longer do patients have to wander aimlessly around a medical office campus or a large hospital building searching for their doctor’s office suite number. Commercial landlords and medtail tenants alike benefit from this new flexibility of retail spaces, and medtail appears to be a success story from both consumers’ and businesses’ perspective.