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Health Care in the Express Lane: The Emergence of Retail Clinics

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Publication Date: July 2006

Publisher(s): California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Mary Kate Scott

Topic: Health (Hospitals and other health care facilities)

Type: Report

Coverage: California

Abstract:

With catchy slogans such as "You're Sick, We're Quick," and promises of affordability and convenience, a new wave of retail health clinics located in mini-malls and popular discount stores is making its mark on the health care landscape. This report examines this innovation from a national and California perspective. It provides an overview of in-store clinics and converging trends in retail and health care, and explores the potential for these clinics to succeed as a viable business model. Surveys indicate that retail-based clinics appeal most to higher-income consumers willing to pay for convenience, and uninsured consumers, who have few alternatives and limited flexibility. According to the report, national consumer reviews have been positive and retail clinic numbers are expected to skyrocket from less than 100 in mid-2006 to several thousand by the end of 2007. In California, which has a relative handful of in-store clinics, the lure of a huge consumer market is irresistible. But health regulations and looming turf battles with physicians may limit profitability and scalability.