Convenience clinics, also known as retail health clinics, are a quickly growing segment of the U.S. health care marketplace, although their expansion has slowed somewhat from the very high rates of their early years. This report looks at retail clinics’ impact and growth over the next five years.
Although different operators employ slightly different approaches, the overall business model utilized by convenience clinics is quite consistent. It involves the provision of basic healthcare services at a low cost, in a facility conveniently located in a busy retail outlet, with broad hours of operation. Care is intended to supplement that provided by the patient’s primary care provider, particularly for common illnesses where the diagnoses are clear-cut and the therapies are proven. Locations such as drug stores, food stores, mass merchandisers and other popular retail outlets with pharmacies enable patient accessibility and make it easy for patients to get their prescriptions filled nearby.
When last Kalorama published the first syndicated market research study on the emerging trend of in-store clinics in 2007, retail clinics were a novel trend. Now, with a few years of activity, they are established in food, drug, mass merchandizing and other stores, with both successes and failures. There is growth in some projects, scalebacks in others. Kalorama has analyzed these developments and returned to examine the state of the market in 2011.
In this market research report, Kalorama outlines many of the factors that will determine the future of the retail clinic concept:
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Despite the actions of some states to regulate their activity and limit the scope of the conditions they treat, retail clinics have grown overall and will likely become a durable part of the healthcare system, according to independent healthcare market research firm Kalorama Information. The firm estimated retail clinic sales at $733.4 million, an increase of 81% per year since 2005, in its latest report, Retail Clinics 2011: Market Assessment, Supplier Sales, Key Players and Trends.
"The concept is still novel, it still arouses some fears, but our research finds that the clinics are popular, particularly in drugstore settings," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information.
The growth comes despite the recession and at a time when some state legislatures, at the behest of physician lobbies, have passed laws that could curtail retail clinic operations. For example, Florida limits a physician to supervising only one clinic, while North Carolina's law restricts physicians to two supervisees, which could have the same effect. These laws could go to the heart of the retail clinic concept, which is that some cost savings will come from using nurse practitioners instead of physicians. Massachusetts has regulated what conditions can be treated in clinics and limits immunizations of children to flu shots only. New York State is investigating whether retail clinics steer customers towards the in-store pharmacy, and is among several states considering a ban on tobacco sales where a retail location has a clinic.
"So far the laws that have direct safety implications have passed in a few states," said Carlson. "The very restrictive laws--such as requiring a permit to have a retail clinic, or requiring the clinic to alert a patient's doctor when they visit--have not passed."
Kalorama suggests that the lack of federal intervention in retail clinics and the failure of more states to pass retail clinic laws are indicators that the clinics right now have not lived up to the fears of opponents. If several cases of negligent care arose that could be tied specifically to the retail clinics' unique business model, it might accelerate legislative action, according to the report.
Retail Clinics 2011: Market Assessment, Supplier Sales, Key Players and Trends looks at retail clinics' impact and growth over the next five years. It examines the market share of various companies and the potential revenues that suppliers may earn selling to retail clinics.
CHAPTER ONE: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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