January 21, 2022

The 3 Biggest Trends in Healthcare in 2022

Kelsi Maree Borland

The healthcare sector was one of the beneficiaries of the pandemic. The healthcare industry is rapidly growing. As investors plan for 2022, Meridian CEO John Pollock is predicting three trends will drive activity healthcare real estate.

First, expect more outpatient sectors. The transition to outpatient facilities has been an ongoing trend over the last decade, and it accelerated during the pandemic. “Services are migrating away from the acute care centers to more convenient outpatient centers” Pollock tells “Ambulatory outpatient care facilities have been at the center of Meridian’s focus for years and we expect this trend to continue to accelerate and translate into more opportunities for investors, developers, and providers alike.”

Telehealth is the second major trend that Pollock sees gaining momentum this year. “Everyone has read about the rapid adoption of telehealth during the pandemic. It certainly spiked in 2020, and while it has since leveled off, it is still an integral and effective means to deliver care,” he says. “The physical manifestation of that trend is creating more flexible exam and telehealth rooms.”

The telehealth trend supports better patient care, especially as providers rush to build outpatient ambulatory facilities. “We have seen an increasing need for outpatient ambulatory care centers either de novo or through renovations that require heavy lifting to meet the new care delivery models,” says Pollock. “A huge benefit of telehealth is providing greater access to care. During the pandemic, it provided a vital access point to care when physical appointments were not practical. Telehealth also allows patients in rural settings to have access to a specialist from the urban centers.”

Finally, healthcare providers will increase focus on behavioral health. “The stigma is finally declining, and we are seeing numerous requirements,” says Pollock. “The stress, isolation and loss caused by the pandemic was the final straw and it is now widely known that behavioral health conditions impact one in four Americans.”

It isn’t only cultural changes that are driving activity in the behavioral space, but institutional investors are also backing these projects. “Institutional investors have warmed up to having behavioral health tenants in their buildings and portfolios, and we have even seen cap rates move toward traditional medical office building valuations,” says Pollock. “It’s very exciting to be a part of creating more access to these much-needed services in our communities.”