One would be hard-pressed to find more customer-focused industries than healthcare and retail. As the consumer experience evolves, it is all about bringing primary care closer to the patient. With convenience as top priority, medtail facilities are at the forefront of this trend. These medical office health hubs that are leasing space in retail centers, malls, and mixed-use developments are taking off – and Henderson Engineers is uniquely positioned, because while the concept to combine these services is new, design of such facilities is not new to Henderson.

Over the last 40-plus years, Henderson has been a trusted partner for some of the largest names in retail. For nearly 30 years, the same can be said of Henderson in the healthcare industry. Now, that expertise in designing spaces for multiple uses and truly blending different building systems joins together.

It’s not to say that creating a medtail space is easy – often times it is not. Maintaining a comfortable and welcoming retail or medical office space with a swimming pool, locker room, and hot yoga room is certainly a design challenge, but we have developed proven solutions to these challenges. For example our technology group knows the importance of access control and providing a strong technology network to provide the best experience for customers. These spaces are exciting to us because we get to bring so many areas of expertise into one use with all the familiar parts and pieces merging together.

We’ve thrived in designing mixed-use, retail, healthcare, grocery, and wellness facilities that feature leading technology solutions. Now we’re proud to lend decades worth of experience to medtail. For us, it only makes sense as we combine our proficiency areas that have made us successful with a wide range of clients and facility types.

Convenience of the Patient Experience

For patients, convenience is the name of the game. Consumers have come to expect the ability to visit facilities that interact seamlessly to achieve a multitude of tasks. Medtail is shifting the way people live day-to-day in terms of health and wellness. What started as healthy sections in grocery stores has evolved into fully focused walk-in clinics delivering many services in retail spaces.

The reasoning for this is twofold: convenience of the location for the patient and lower construction or renovation costs. Retail space is likely to be closer to a patient’s residential area, which brings medtail closer to the consumer. Additionally, retail locations are available virtually everywhere, and it’s inexpensive and less challenging to build these spaces than other medical facilities.

It’s no secret that hospitals and doctor’s offices can be intimidating places to visit. For many people, hospitals are frightening unless you work there. With medtail, that uncomfortable feeling doesn’t exist for patients because they’re able to visit facilities where they can not only be checked out for minor ailments, but they can also work out, visit a physical therapist or athletic trainer, and purchase vitamins and supplements all under one roof. It’s truly a multi-use patient experience that is as fast and painless as possible.

Most of all, medtail affords the ability for people to be assessed, recover, and return to full health and their normal daily lives faster. This practice evolved because of preventive maintenance – if we can keep people working out and healthy, they won’t have to be admitted into hospitals unless absolutely necessary, leaving resources in hospitals for patients that really need that level of care. The patient experience is also usually offered at a much cheaper rate and eliminates the fear of hospital bills that can take months or years to pay in full.  Insurance companies now not only encourage but incentivize regular exercise because it has shown to correlate with a healthier lifestyle, which in turn makes hospital admissions less likely. While medtail has had some challenges with the current COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a number of services provided to continue to support healthy decisions, through the use of telehealth, apps that allow for better social distancing/coming on site, and additional mental health support.

In the Kansas City area, a Blue Cross Blue Shield vision came to life with Spira Care. This innovative concept transforms the traditional healthcare experience by simplifying the process and eliminating confusion for patients. Offering comprehensive services including urgent care, counseling, primary care, and lab tests, the member-centered experience is one that patients can count on — within a health plan that completely covers their needs.

Henderson Engineers was part of the design team for multiple standalone clinics with Spira Care. With a focus on developing a welcoming atmosphere, Henderson provided building systems design and code consulting for spaces such as exam rooms, radiology, waiting areas, consultation rooms, specimen lab areas, medical supply, break rooms, and general support spaces. In a field that can be cumbersome and stressful, Spira Care believes in removing stress rather than adding to it, and that’s something Henderson understands.

Following the opening of the first Spira Care clinics in 2019, the Kansas City Business Journal honored the program with a Capstone Award, recognizing them as top construction projects throughout the region.

Multiple Uses

Medtail clinics feature a wide range of components and uses. From a healthcare perspective, patients can receive examinations with some clinics featuring light X-ray imaging and dental capabilities that can require medical gases. Women’s health, optometry, and counseling services are also frequently incorporated.

The mind, body, and spirit can be addressed with the availability of yoga studios and healthy eating areas such as vegan cafes, juice bars, and smoothie stations.

Medical offices regularly featured in medtail clinics are home to weight loss counselors where patients enjoy a more comfortable atmosphere physically and mentally.

Other more flexible spaces are becoming more popular in medtail. You may see a medical office by day and community center by night, so elasticity is key. At Henderson, we thrive in designing spaces that fit multiple uses and understand all the factors and systems in play that must work together to provide an elite visitor experience.

Technology – More of Everything Needed

Technology services are crucial in medtail because virtually more of everything is required, especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Increased wireless capacity and network fiber is essential, for telehealth services and even for fire alarm systems. A big priority is cybersecurity and network security that ties to the main hospitals through electronic medical records. Our staff is experienced in network operations, allowing us to provide expertise that sets us apart to deliver a holistic design that truly works for these types of applications.

Healthcare clinics often feature mission control centers where personnel can monitor conditions from wireless devices, creating a further need for expanded technology systems. Digital signage is frequently available for patients to view wait times the second they arrive in a clinic or sent to the patients’ wireless device. By sending notifications of appointments, reminders, and day-of wait times, medtail clinics utilize an integrated telecommunications design that creates stronger lines of communication, builds trust between the patient and provider, and enhances comfortability before the patient even steps into an exam room.

Modular Design and Construction

The emergence of modular design and construction has become prevalent in medtail spaces. It’s not rare to see modular wall systems where staff can quickly and easily change panels within the exam or treatment rooms. Prefabricated bathrooms and other fully integrated rooms that connect heating, cooling, technology, and power are also part of the equation.

We’re at the leading edge of this trend, working with the top manufacturers and facilities throughout several industries. Henderson is in regular contact with the manufacturing and technology companies creating these products so that we’re prepared to discuss specifics when needs arise with clients. We also serve on committees to address these new technologies in codes and standards.

Blending What We Do Best

At Henderson Engineers, we’ve spent the past 50 years mastering our craft with the best of the best in mixed-use, healthcare, retail, grocery, technology, and wellness, among many other specialties. Medtail is a natural fit for us and a rising trend that we’re proud to be a part of. Redefining convenience for the consumer is where we thrive, and with retailers and other large companies viewing medtail as the wave of the future, Henderson is your trusted partner with unmatched experience on all sides of building systems design. Where medtail creativity and engineering precision meet, you’ll find Henderson.



About the Authors

Jason Wollum


Retail Practice Director | Senior Vice President
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Jason Wollum is the embodiment of Henderson’s purpose statement: he definitely creates an environment where people can reach their full potential. When he first started at Henderson in 1997, Jason was entrenched in the day-to-day designs of a variety of retail and mixed-use projects, as well as forensic engineering investigations. Through the years, Jason grew into one of our top leaders. He’s now a senior vice president responsible for the design, management, and coordination of several programs for some of our most important clients.

Mark Chrisman


Healthcare Practice Director | Vice President
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Mark Chrisman joined Henderson Engineers in 2004 and quickly began establishing client relationships that he still maintains today. A vice president and our healthcare practice director, Mark coordinates strategy for Henderson’s healthcare practice across the country. He has designed healthcare environments for some of the biggest names in the industry, providing technical expertise on fire protection and code consulting. He is known for his uncanny ability to recall specific codes and uses his immense knowledge of regulatory compliance requirements to help save clients’ money and time on projects.