Report Predicts Disruption from Retail Clinics

April 24th 2017
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor

Kalorama Information releases eight report on the retail clinic market.

Retail clinics may disrupt or complement at least 6 parts of the health care system, according to a new report by Kalorama Information.

There are an estimated 2200 retail clinics in the United States, and they could impact hospitals, physicians’ offices, government and private insurance payors, vaccine companies, IVD companies, and health care IT companies.

One major factor is that retail clinics up-end the normal health care delivery environment and the direction of flow of services, according to a press release.

“The deliver health care to customers where they are, where the rest of the health care system awaits patients,” Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama, said in the release. “Ten years ago, the retail clinic concept was novel. Now, it’s rare to hear a discussion of health care trends that doesn’t include these clinics. Everyone is thinking about how they can align to the trend.”

The following are 5 ways Kalorama thinks retail clinics will cause disruption:

  1. They are a lower-cost option for patients than the emergency department (ED), and they can be used to compete for insurance company business with high-cost EDs and be used by health care organizations to reduce the traffic at the ED.
  2. Priorreportshave shown that 85% of retail clinic patients have a physician they see regularly, but there is still a potential threat to physicians’ offices. On average, the clinics offer better hours on provide treatment for routines services such as colds and flus. But they also refer patients and don’t provide all services.
  3. They are a source of focus in thein vitrodiagnostics industry, and major IVDs are developing testing units for both retail and urgent care clinics.
  4. As the years progress, retail clinics are building consumer awareness and reputation. They have shorter waiting times and better hours; and the report indicates they routinely achieve high satisfaction rates.
  5. They are at the forefront of electronic medical records and telehealth, introducing EMR, billing innovation, and virtual waiting room technology. This is something that physician officers are adopting although the uptake has been slow.

“As an example of companies aligning to the trend, Kalorama notes that some hospitals are founding retail clinics to take pressure off ERs, or to gain patients,” the press release reported. “Others are developing retail clinic-like policies of hours or appointments. Still others are figuring out how they can gain referrals from the trend, or adjust the care they provide to patients to retail clinic customers, given they are a large part of the US population and most do use health care services elsewhere.”

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