Physician Practice

Retail clinics redefine their roles

Physician Practice Insider, May 26, 2017

As retail clinics expand in number and in scope of services, they could emerge as a threat to some primary care practices.

Though industry estimates vary, the United States has approximately 2,500 retail-based health clinics, and that number is on pace to exceed 2,800 locations by the end of 2017. As of January 2016, CVS was the market leader with 1,040 locations, followed by Walgreens Healthcare Clinics with 403 locations. Kroger ranked third with 194 Little Clinics, while Wal-Mart, Target, and Rite-Aid all had fewer than 100 locations, according to a 2016 study from the Drug Channels Institute.

“What started as a questionable business model is now maturing into a key stakeholder in the healthcare supply chain,” the study stated. 

And as the business model has matured, retail clinics have evolved into a possible alternative to primary care physicians, particularly among millennials.  

“The one thing they do really well is provide patients with immediate access to care, and for some patients, that’s very important,” says Travis Singleton, a consultant and senior vice president for Merritt Hawkins & Associates in Dallas. “If retail clinics weren’t filling a need out there, you wouldn’t be seeing them expand at the rate they’re expanding. Like them or not, there is a real demand for the type of services they provide.”

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the May 2017 issue.


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