The much talked about retail clinic market in the US has grown by 15 per cent in the last two years, according to a new report released today by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. Retail clinic market growth, however, will likely slow by 10-15 percent from 2010 through 2012 but will accelerate above 30 percent from 2013-2014, according to the report.
The business of operating retail health clinics in pharmacies, supermarkets and big-box discount stores might have gone through fits and starts in the last couple of years, but the report, "Retail Clinics: Update and Implications," sounds optimistic.
It suggests that consumer adoption of retail medicine is strong and growing. Additionally, the report suggests that the industry's potential to expand its revenue opportunities will support its long-term sustainability. The four factors that will likely contribute to the sector's growth include:
Increased use and satisfaction by consumers
Increased use and acceptance by commercial health plans and large employers
Increased services provided through the retail medicine model
Increased demand for preventive and primary health care services as a result of health reform and consumer demand
"The growth and evolution of retail clinics reflect opportunities for disruptive innovation and an improved value proposition of price, quality and service for the U.S. health care system," said Paul Keckley, Ph.D. and executive director, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. "While the current economic downturn has incited a period of contraction, the retail clinic industry will emerge with a more refined business model to drive a second, albeit slower, wave of growth in the next three years."
According to the report and Deloitte's 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers
, 33 percent of consumers indicate they are willing to use a retail clinic, especially younger and middle-aged working adults. Moreover, 30 percent of respondents are likely to use a retail clinic if it would cost them 50 percent less than seeing their physician, PR Newswire reported.
"Retail clinics represent a new channel that can deliver primary care services more conveniently and at lower cost to consumers," noted Keckley. "Clinic services are typically safe and effective, due in large measure to medical management programs that are evidence-based and supported by electronic medical records. Additionally, health insurance plans are increasingly offering coverage of retail clinic visits in their benefits packages for individuals and employers -- 'covered lives' is a key to growth....
"As a new entrant to the health care industry, retail clinics represent a threat to many traditional health care stakeholders," added Keckley. "However, to consumers, health plans and employers, retail clinics offer an important health care alternative with a strong value proposition. Therefore, we expect this new sector to mature while growing its scope of services, locations and impact on population-based health status."