Concierge Medicine At The Mall?

Corporations like Walgreen’s move to make health care access more convenient and affordable with retail clinics. It is likely they are taking a cue from the growing popularity of concierge medicine and its benefits. The are betting that when paitents are looking to find a concierge doctor for its convenient access to health care and direct pay options, many will choose the in-store clinic instead.

The Economist, April 6th, 2013 Orlando, Florida

PAST the lipsticks and lotions in a Walgreens shop in Orlando is what looks like a doctor’s office. It does not operate like one. Patients can check waiting times online before coming to the store. In a private room, they see a nurse for a diagnosis. At kiosks, they use touch screens to pull up prescriptions and pay for them. A pharmacist devotes his time to patients’ questions—pharmacy clerical work is centralized elsewhere.

Walgreens, a national pharmacy chain, is expanding its clinics’ scope. Having long treated sore throats and pink eyes, on April 4th the company announced new services to manage chronic conditions. The move is part of a bigger trend in the era of Obamacare. As baby-boomers age and millions of Americans gain insurance, demand for basic health services will surge. Primary-care doctors are scarce. Companies such as Walgreens are keen to fill the gap.

The industry’s two leaders are CVS Caremark, a pharmacy with 640 clinics, and Walgreens, with 372. Walgreens intends to grow, but will not disclose targets. CVS is more openly bullish, with plans to have 1,500 clinics by 2017. Andrew Sussman, who leads the company’s clinics, expects that revenue will grow by more than 20% this year.

The retail clinics have a simple goal: providing good, standardised, accessible care. The way they offer it is becoming more sophisticated. They have tried to balance seasonal traffic with health screenings and immunisations. Walgreens is keen to tap the big business of chronic disease, doing more to help patients manage diabetes and other stubborn ailments.

Blood tests, then doughnuts on aisle 5?

Read the full article to learn more about Walgreens and CVS’s approach and doctors reactions.


About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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