One of the key strategies important to the success of healthcare reform is the ability to turn patients into consumers. The implementation of high deductible health plans has further accelerated the need for individuals and families to understand and shop for services and treatments. Thus creating constant market pressure on a range of industry players to provide healthcare in more affordable ways
The Rise of Convenient Care Clinics
One such player that is succeeding, is retail clinics. There are approximately 2,400 convenient care clinics in 43 states and D.C. that serve over 35 millions consumers annually according to the Convenient Care Association. Additionally, there are more than 150 healthcare systems operating or partnering with retail clinics. And experts think these numbers haven’t even scratched the surface in terms of potential.
Addressing Rising Out of Pocket Costs
Retail clinics offer a convenient and affordable resource for families. Many employees now have higher out-of-pocket costs and are looking for accessible care at an affordable price point.
Helping Consumers without a Primary Care Provider Find Affordable Care
For some families, especially those without a chosen provider, retail clinics are serving as a point of entry into the health system. As noted by the Convenient Care Association at least 50% of consumers who use retail clinics do not have an established provider relationship, and using a retail clinic fills that gap in a less costly way compared to an emergency room visit.
A Point of Entry, a Point of Access
Many health systems have recognized that they do need more portals of entry into their systems and retail clinics are an effective consumer-facing entry point. A retail clinic visit can open the door to more comprehensive services such as chronic condition management. This type of partnership lends itself to a greater range of services and improvement in people’s overall health.
It means many retail clinics are becoming part of the local healthcare ecosystem by sharing electronic medical records, referring patients and receiving referrals as well. Communities and employers continue to explore ways to maintain health care costs, and a 2016 PwC Health Research Institute consumer survey found how retail clinics are helping. According to survey results consumer visited retail clinics for providing services for primary care treatments (54%), preventive treatments (43%), treatment for injuries (29%), and school/sport/camp physicals (26%).
Employers have an opportunity to provide employees with health plans with retail clinic partnerships. Their convenience and affordability lend themselves to keeping healthcare costs low and employee productivity high.
Source: Drug Store News. High Deductible Plans Help Fuel Expansion. July 2017. PP38-42.