Retail Health Clinics to Continue to Boom as Profits Soar
The number of retail health clinics will exceed 2800 by 2017, which is an increase of 47% from about 1900 in 2014, according to a new report from Accenture.
The main reason for the surge in retail clinics, which have been around since 2001, is that they are starting to generate substantial profits for their companies. Originally, these clinics, staffed by nurse practitioners, dealt mainly with minor acute or seasonal medical issues. Now many retail clinics also manage chronic conditions and have added electronic health records (EHRs) and access to telehealth services. Some of the companies that operate retail clinics are partnering with regional healthcare providers to build patient volume, Accenture noted.
“These changes are having a profound impact on the overall profitability of these clinics and will serve as a key driver of future growth,” the researchers write.
Although the clinics are convenient for consumers, providing services when most medical offices are closed, physicians continue to view them warily. An Accenture survey of 1000 physicians found that 41% of them are comfortable with patients using retail clinics for preventive care, such as vaccinations, but many physicians do not want patients to receive chronic care or other primary care in these settings.
One reason for physicians’ discomfort with retail clinics is that they charge less than medical offices for the same services, and their charges are often covered by insurance. Although retail clinic visits are still a small fraction of visits to physicians, this poses a potentially sharp challenge to primary care practices. Also, although studies show that retail clinics provide high-quality care for simple acute problems, medical societies question whether they should be delivering other kinds of services.
SOURCE: Medscape; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/854453
Categories: DPC News