In the 2017 healthcare world, many doctors are wanting to compete with retail clinics for patients.
A lot of this has to do with accessibility. To actually get to see a doctor in person can take up to 6 days according to recent studies.
Convenient Care Clinics, also known called Retail clinics are the middle ground that many consumers are looking for. A 2008 Survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, finds the appetite for retail medical clinics is real, and growing, and the potential for future success substantial.
Currently there are around 1900 clinics across the United States that manage a total of 10 million patient visits a year. Many doctors find that they must compete with retail clinics, and aren’t sure what to do.
Most retail clinics are open seven days a week, twelve hours a day during the workweek, and eight hours a day on the weekend. Pharmacies and big box retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Walmart, Target and Riteaid are leading the market in opening retail clinics, with CVS having about 50% market share with their Minute Clinic brand.
This trend is going to continue. According to studies conducted by Accenture, the number of retail clinics will grow to over 2800 within the next year.
Beyond the access it is the cost, quality and transparency that is attracting patients especially for lower-acuity, lower-complexity, lower-reimbursement type of cases. From a patient perspective it seems retail clinics are certainly a welcome innovation for the overall healthcare system.
But the big question is: are retail clinics helping or hurting physician practices?
The debate on the industry effect of retail clinics is continuing, however one thing is clear, physicians need to acknowledge their influence and begin to adopt methods to compete with them.
Here are 5 ways physician-owned practices can compete with retail clinics and take advantage of their approach.
Use the best practices of Retail Clinics
Convenience, access and price transparencies are the key attractions for patients. In most cases, it is quite easy for your practice to provide similar experiences through offering varied opening hours, or using technologies such as Telehealth to give your patients the option of remote consulting.
Let your offerings be known
You may already be offering many patient friendly options. You may also be offering price transparency for remote consulting. Use marketing channels to let your existing and new patients know about your offerings. Use social media, sites such as yelp.com or Google reviews to spread the word.
Differentiate your practice
Retail clinics cannot provide all your service as it is designed for only lower acuity issues such as flu, fever, and minor complaints. Your practice by contrast may take the time to understand the root cause of a symptom a patient is experiencing. Through continued monitoring and care, you can develop a relationship with the patients, and also a more clear path to diagnosis and health.
Leverage retail clinics to your advantage
Especially if you have a very busy practice you can choose to spread the word about them to triage. By sending the lower acuity cases to the retail clinics, they can in turn send more complicated cases to you.
Collaborate with Your Team
You can only do so much by yourself. Make it a team effort. Let your team know about the changes you see in the market. Ask for their suggestions on how to enhance the experience patients have in your clinic. Rather than think of your clinic as a factory to ship cases, think of it as a way to create a healthier patient base.
You will be surprised how much enrolling your team in your vision can help you. These are some tactics to help doctors to compete with retail clinics. It allows doctors to enhance the experience they provide, and keep patients coming back to you.