Retail Clinics have had a substantial growth over the past few years and are expected to have an even faster growth rate in the upcoming years.
Retail Clinics are booming as consumers seek new ways to get convenient, cost effective healthcare which constitute a formidable challenge to traditional practice. As a matter of fact, some insurers like Kaiser Permanente partnered with Target to Staff retail Clinics in some California stores.
Up to 60% of patients seen in Retail Clinics do not have established Primary Care Provider with more than 10 million patient visits to Retail Clinics every year mostly utilizing low acuity care for self-limiting conditions. But with convenience and reassurance , most consumers find those clinics to be a much cheaper alternative than being seen in the Emergency Room.
The Affordable Care Act ( ACA) which added millions of patients into the already strained Primary Care Capacity , created great opportunity for the Retail Clinics. Most of these Clinics are concentrated in the metropolitan areas but Tele Medicine is proposed to provide care for the rural communities in America giving 46,000 current physician shortage which will hit 94,000 by 2025!
Drive-Thru style of healthcare offered by Retail Clinics in Shopping Centers, Malls and Supermarkets was actually preferred by Millennials compared to Senior patients . The majority of these Clinics are staffed by Nurse Practitioners not Physicians and because of the possible delay of few days to be seen by the physician due to shortage and scheduling issues, consumers now choose to go to Retail Clinics as walk-in and be seen the same day.
In addition to physician shortage, the Affordable Care Act, and higher out of pocket cost are all factors fueling the growth of Retail Clinics. So, patients prefer low cost visits ( average $75) per encounter rather than very high out of pocket cost when seen in the Emergency Room. Patients are also getting to be more educated consumers of healthcare as they shop around and compare prices for various healthcare services. Some Retail Clinics are taking advantage of managing chronic diseases as they constitute the biggest burden of healthcare cost ( up to 86% of total money spent) and are getting the Electronic Medical records connected with other Health-System affiliate to capture the chronic disease management market and filling this gap in healthcare delivery. Our Concierge Medicine model offers patients another viable option to deliver Cost effective Quality Healthcare with convenience and personalized continued Care. Thus, we can count on more and more Retail Clinics growth but hope to have a positive impact on lowering overall healthcare cost and working in harmony with traditional physician offices , Concierge Medicine Providers and hospitals to best serve our patients!
Dr Adel Eldin,MD, FACC,FACP
Affordable Quality Healthcare Program
Wesley Chapel , Florida
Tel 877-DR ELDIN
President ,Society of Physician Entrepreneur, Tampa Bay Chapter