MARCH 2021 – Despite a variety of opinions related to the subject of retail healthcare “in healthcare”, their popularity is surging among patients, particularly younger patient demographics. In fact, we’ve written a number of essays, conducted numerous interviews with many DPC Physicians and others and confirmed the overwhelming overlap that these clinics have with Direct Primary Care (DPC) physician practice patient population makeup.
Wwhat makes them so appealing? Why are patients forsaking the traditional, plan reimbursed, primary care or family medicine office in search of these clinics? Is it the transparent cost on the flat screen when you enter? Is it the ease of entry and walk-in scheduling compared to that of a traditional, plan reimbursed medical office? Is it the convenience of pharmacy and retail?Well, all of the above when you unpack the patient surveys and industry data. Like it or loathe it, it’s not going away. With the recent distribution of vaccines during the Pandemic, one reporter and a number of healthcare providers emphasized that ‘They’re cementing their role in healthcare …’ Patient frustration with their Doctor’s office also isn’t getting better. Trust in our Physician’s insight is also meandering according to the Patient Surveys. And, it’s not just the Pandemic you might think that is causing consumer fatigue with healthcare. The systemic ‘patient burnout’ has been happening in healthcare for years, decades if you ask some Physicians. First, you might ask, why are we talking about this at The DPC Journal? Well, candidly, the healthcare delivery world is changing. Despite what we might see as the center of the universe (eg. DPC), there are a lot of other innovations in healthcare delivery that are taking place in our communities. Not learning about them is a mistake. To explain why we wrote the Doctor’s Expanded Edition to Concierge Medicine and DPC, I’ll let you in on what one of our favorite authors Andy Stanley said in his Leadership Podcast recently and why we included an excerpt from his podcast in the new book. He said, “Somebody is already working on a uniquely better approach, a uniquely better product, a uniquely better environment, a uniquely better model. Someone out there is currently messing with the rules of the prevailing model. The goal isn’t necessarily to be the first or the pioneer of ‘uniquely better’ but people should be in a position organizationally and personally to recognize it when it comes along.” ~A.S., Leadership Podcast; Part 2; Dec. 1, 2017 In fact, A. Stanley., also added later in the same podcast, “It is natural to assume that what worked in the past will always work. But, of course, that way of thinking is lethal. And the longer it goes unchallenged, the more difficult it is to identify and eradicate. Every innovation has an expiration date.” So as we unpack and discover what Retail Healthcare is, isn’t and it’s role in our lives (or not), please understand that we are providing this educational insight to you through a lens that values the Patient-Physician relationship deeply, but also understands that “Patient Fatigue” has set in. And the data is teasing this out as well over the years … and simply stated, continued innovation in healthcare needs to happen … and it will happen long after you and I are no longer around to see it. So, let’s begin.
In 2021, there are a lot more case studies, medical journal publications and articles about the pros, cons and realities of retail healthcare than there were when we started writing here at the AJRM years ago.In March of 2020, Consumer Reports writer, Donna Rosato wrote an article entitled, Alternatives to Traditional Medical Care. In the article she writes … The roughly 2,700 health clinics located in chain pharmacies, supermarkets, and retail stores—up from 1,200 in 2010, according to the Convenient Care Association—offer no-appointment-needed treatment. Staffed mainly by P.A.s and N.P.s, they’re typically open every day and have become a common source of care for nearly a quarter of Americans with no primary care doctor, CR’s survey found. Some of these clinics, such as the MinuteClinics in more than 1,000 Target locations and CVS drugstores, have been around since the early 2000s. What’s new is that CVS and several other retailers are expanding the services they offer. CVS recently launched more than 50 of a planned 1,500 HealthHubs, where consumers can get nutrition counseling, attend wellness classes, and receive help managing chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as vaccines and treatment for problems like colds and the flu. This article by Consumer Reports and many others over the past several years further elaborates about the pros, cons, costs, support staff and role that retail healthcare clinics are now playing in our culture and inside of each of our communities. The Convenient Care Association (CCA) is a great resource for this burgeoning space and is the national trade association that represents the industry to sustain its growth and share best practices and standards of operation. AJRM is not affiliated with CCA.
- Drug Store News | The Business of Retail Pharmacy
- Merchant Medicine, LLC — www.merchantmedicine.com
- The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism — www.theihccforum.com
- The Retail Healthcare Revolution — Paperback – 2009 — http://www.amazon.com/Retail-Healthcare-Revolution-Tony-Paquin/dp/098242390X
- The RAND Corporation and RETAIL HEALTHCARE CLINIC Research/News — http://www.rand.org/topics/retail-health-care-clinics.html
- HIMSS Media — http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/directory/retail-health-clinic
- Modern Healthcare — http://www.modernhealthcare.com/section/articles?tagID=939
- The Convenient Care Association — http://www.ccaclinics.org
- American Journal of Retail Medicine — www.JournalofRetailMedicine.com
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