Good News Friday - July 13, 2012
Good News at the Doctor's Office
Demand for healthcare services is rising as evidenced by a wide range of metrics including the average annual number of patient visits to physicians' offices, which hit an all-time high of 3.441 in 2009 (the most recent data available) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The massive baby boom generation, which began turning 65 last year, is driving the increase because people visit their doctors more often as they age. People 75 and older averaged 8.169 doctor visits in 2009, the highest of all age groups and well above the 1.763 visits made by people aged 15 to 24, the group with the lowest rate of doctor visits. But it's not just aging boomers who are driving the increase. All of the age groups tracked by the CDC made more doctor visits in 2009 than they did 10 years ago.
Why is this good news, you ask? People of all ages are visiting their doctors more often because better treatments are available for a wide range of conditions. The National Cancer Institute reports that cancer mortality rates, for example, have been declining for nearly 20 years, from approximately 215 per 100,000 persons in 1991 to 173 per 100,000 in 2009, adjusted for the aging population. Better measures of prevention, screening and treatment are responsible. The same is true for a wide range of other conditions with promising treatments on the horizon.
There is a subsidiary impact on commercial real estate; the aging baby boom generation and the increasing frequency of doctor visits among all age groups translates into strong demand among tenants, owner-users and investors for a wide range of healthcare-related properties such as medical office buildings, clinics, skilled nursing facilities and independent living communities.
National Director, Market Analytics
Grubb & Ellis