You've heard it a dozen times. Parents are called to schools to pick up sick children. The only question is where to take said sick kid. She's running a fever, throwing up and says her tummy hurts. Tossing an imaginary quarter, the parent takes her to a retail health clinic, the regular doctor not having an appointment open at the time.
You've also heard this one a dozen times: parents are called home from work to pick up a kid whose various limbs are broken due to an accident playing with neighborhood kids, or he has a concussion. Local retail health clinics don't do serious things like that, The parent takes him to an urgent care facility, their primary care physician not being available at the time.
Just What Is A Retail Health Clinic?
They first popped up inside Walmart in the early 2000s. Everyone became familiar with the eye doctors and glasses shops and even some dentists who were the first to open them. The definition of retail health clinic is "a healthcare facility providing basic and preventive care in a retail setting". The definition does not include acute care centers, wellness centers, crisis and urgent care facilities.
Why the Proliferation of Retail Clinics?
It's not that consumers have become any more savvy than in days gone by. It's not that consumers are demanding convenience, although they do. It's more that these retail health clinics are opened where the people live, instead of choosing some central city or village site, as well as:
They are open past doctors' closing times, and take care of illnesses that crop up suddenly
Charging a little less than doctor offices and emergency rooms
More and more consumers are aware of their presence, so that one day those consumers will use the clinics
Satisfaction rates among patrons are very high
What About Retail Clinics Closures?
While it is true that Rite Aid's RediClinic and a list of others have closed their doors, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacies' clinics are opening left, right and center. Healthcare service providers are also opening retail clinics.
Whether or not rapid expansion proved too much for the clinics closing their doors, it has proven providential for those remaining. For example, in 2016, retail health clinics brought in more than $1.4 billion. By 2020, those figures are expected to rise exponentially.
Buy-outs have a lot to do with the closures, as the big boys gobble up the smaller retailers. Keep in mind, though, that such clinics began with less than one thousand fifteen years ago. In 2017, there are 2,800 across the country. At the rate the big boys are expanding, that number is expected to more than double by 2020.
And the Users of Retail Clinics?
American health care has evolved from a financial free-for-all to thoughtful, caring regimes of preventive care and rapid as well as low-cost primary care. Retail health clinics fill the bill for those whose symptoms aren't worthy of an ER or those without health insurance.
In an increasing world of parents working two jobs to keep the family together, retail clinics provide basic health care and diagnostics without the wait. This can be a saving grace to a parent on a break from work to take a kid to the clinic.
We mentioned convenience above. With mail-a-meals fresh from a chef's kitchen, virtual reality in telemedicine, in addition to having anything from groceries to pharmaceuticals to clothing delivered to the front door, it's no surprise that consumers want medical attention right now. And they get it at retail clinics.
The medical community is on the edge of exciting things from new technology to innovations in treatment. We'd be happy to talk with you, when you contact us to learn more.