Retail Healthcare Gains Popularity

The growing number of retail clinics is expected to transform primary healthcare and touch 30 million patients globally by 2022, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan. The global retail care market earned revenue of $1.35 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $4 billion in 2022. Retail clinics are in pharmacies, grocery chains, supermarkets, and department stores, and address minor health issues. They have longer hours than do traditional clinics.

The retail clinic market is growing due to rising healthcare costs and a lack of access to primary care. In most developing countries, health insurance penetration is low and the out-of-pocket spending pinches patients. Rising premiums and higher deductibles are a concern for those with health insurance. A shortage of primary care physicians is resulting in longer wait times for doctor appointments, even in mature markets like the U.S.

Many patients see retail clinics as the second choice, and use then on weekends or after-hours, which limits patient volume. Opening retail clinics is financially impractical in some states due to regulations. The largest U.S. chain only has retail clinics in 33 states. Siddharth Shah of Frost & Sullivan said, “With increasing experience, retail players will expand their services…and experiment with…product-service bundling, telemedicine, and point-of-care technologies to enhance patient experience.”

Health Care Predictions for 2015 and Beyond

The ACA brings increased cost responsibility on consumers, smarter technology, and more choices for 2015 and beyond. Vitals CEO Mitch Rothschild outlines five key changes to expect in the coming year:

1. Diagnosis Outside The Doctor’s Office: There are several reasons why your next diagnosis may happen outside of a doctor’s office in 2015. Retail clinics and urgent care centers are often more convenient. Over-the-counter home kits are can now diagnose more conditions, such as Hepatitis C, HIV, and prostate cancer. New technologies scan for everything from fevers to Parkinson’s disease. People will be seeing the doctor less often, but for more serious problems. Wearable technology provides data that patients can discuss with their doctors, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and care. For 2020, there will be a huge appetite for self-diagnostics, which could reduce the cost and resources it takes to provide routine care. A wave of simple diagnostic tools and tests will become the norm in a few years,

2. Provider Price Wars: The health care marketplace will get a boost from more options for medical care and diagnosis and more transparency. Companies and health plans are pairing quality and cost data on hospitals and doctors, allowing consumers to shop for care. Competition, cost and choice will fuel price wars among health care providers. Besides retail clinics like CVS and Walgreens, hospitals and medical centers will also compete on price. Places like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma guarantee the price for procedures, including doctor fees, initial consults, and uncomplicated follow-up care. The center has attracted patients from across the country. The cost is cheaper than local hospitals; and employers are willing to foot the bill — flights, travel and lodging included. Couponing, incentives and other retail-model discounts will become part of the shopping experience for patients. In 2020, hospitals will invest in certain diseases and disorders while outsourcing general surgeries and procedures to more efficient and price-competitive surgery centers. This will lead to better, more efficient care.

3. Emphasis On Behavioral Data: Personal data and incentives can help people  take manage their financial and physical well-being. In 2020, new tools and services will be needed to connect and analyze a wider range of data sources and deliver deeper meaning as we move from historical tracking to predictive modeling.

4. Care Designed For One: The personalized care movement will come from the convergence of data and technology. Doctors will go beyond the medical history form and inflexible guidelines to consider their patients’ genetics and behaviors. In 2020, there will be DNA-designed pharmaceuticals. As personalized health evolves next to genetic mapping, we will soon see medications and treatments designed for your physiology.

5. Cost Increases Spur Consumer Shopping: There is no end to the movement toward high deductible health plans (HDHPs). Large deductibles highter out-of-pocket costs. As a result, thoughtful consumer purchasing will become the norm. The result will lead us towards a less wasteful, more efficient health care system. In 2020, expect to see more benefit trimming. Pharmaceutical benefits will be redesigned. Expensive specialty drugs will force employers to increase cost sharing for brand-name medications.

More Patients Are Visiting Retail Clinics

Retail clinics are playing a growing role in health care delivery, according to a study from Walgreens. Patients are relying more on nurse practitioners at retail clinics to provide chronic and preventive health services. The study also reveals marked increases in the number of patients who are making return visits to clinics. Visits to healthcare clinics for preventive services, screening, and chronic care increased from 4% in 2007 to 17% in 2013. The annual percentage of return patient visits to Healthcare Clinic climbed from 15% in 2007 to more than 50% in 2012 and 2013. For patients age 17 and under, visits for preventive services and vaccinations increased 180% For patients ages 18 to 64, visits for health testing increased 90% while preventive health service visits increased 66%. Acute visits increased 84% for patients 65 and older. The Convenient Care Association estimates that 33% of Americans live within 10 minutes of a retail healthcare clinic. Walgreens has increased the variety of services at select Walgreens clinics from providing vaccinations to diagnosing and treating a number of chronic conditions. Clinics at select locations are open seven days a week, with extended evening and weekend hours, and offer walk-in service. Healthcare Clinics accept most major insurance plans and Medicare and Medicaid, and offer affordable, transparent pricing for those without insurance coverage. Healthcare Clinic’s board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants deliver patient-centric care, driving patient satisfaction rates that are consistently greater than 90%. For more information,

Last Updated 08/10/2022

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