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Retail Health Is Front and Center

by Marty Stempniak

Hospitals & Health Networks

Article excerpt

5 Implications for Hospitals Now that Retail is Health Care's New Front Door

There’s a new front door to the U.S. health care system, and it’s not your hospital’s emergency department or doctors’ offices. A new report, released Wednesday by Oliver Wyman, says it’s actually retail health clinics, located down the street at places like Walgreens and CVS.

Our take

Retail Health is Here: There’s No Turning Back

Doctors may not feel retail outlets like Walgreens and CVS represent a viable alternative to traditional clinic visits, but consumers feel differently according to a recent survey. About 80 percent felt that these types of visits were just as good, if not better, than traditional visits. That goes for telehealth-related visits too–95 percent of CVS customers thought telehealth was as good or better than traditional. How is your health system planning to address these new competitive impacts?

Patients are not clinically qualified to judge the efficacy of the care they receive; providers are uniquely qualified. That disconnect often leads to differences of opinion about what’s appropriate and what may not be. Unfortunately, in a consumer-driven era where non-traditional health providers are entering the field, it’s unlikely that providers will be able to stem this growing tide of non-traditional services use. Health organizations have an important role to play in helping to educate patients—and consumers in general—on how to make smart choices about the healthcare services they select.