Retail Clinics Solidify Niche Role in Healthcare, Continue Success Through Unique Proposition to Patients

Retail Clinics Solidify Niche Role in Healthcare, Continue Success Through Unique Proposition to Patients

Kalorama Information has closely monitored the development of the U.S. retail clinic industry as an emergent channel for therapeutics and diagnostics, but also as a vehicle for healthcare services that is uniquely responsive to shifts in the U.S. healthcare system. Retail Clinics 2015 bases its findings on an expansive consumer survey as well as Kalorama’s research into point of care testing (POCT) and medical device markets. Retail clinics are proliferating in the United States by virtue of their ability to deliver accessible, low overhead basic medical services such as immunizations, basic testing, routine care, preventative care, and even aesthetic services. Outside of the rigid procedures and stressed capacities of conventional healthcare, retail clinics have been able to diversify services and across channels, operating within drug stores, food stores, mass merchandisers, and other outlets.

The origin of retail or convenience clinics, in the sense of its now predominant business model, is traced to QuickMedx in 2000. The business was acquired by CVS and is now well known as MinuteClinic. The business model has been wildly successful in its limited role in healthcare: Kalorama’s 2015 survey found that over 90% of adults that had used a retail clinic were satisfied or very satisfied with retail clinic service. The pace of growth in the U.S. retail clinic industry has been astonishing with 1,234 locations in 2009 rising to over 2,104 locations in 2015. Growth has been accomplished through meeting a largely unmet, yet finite structural demand for services adjacent to urgent care centers and family practices that are not subject to long wait times, scheduling, and can be delivered at comparable out-of-pocket cost.

Short-term projections do not envision a significant expansion of role or service portfolios for retail clinics in the U.S. healthcare system. Greater than four out of every five patients to retail clinics have a regular physician and less than one out of five patients expect retail clinics to replace their regular physician. However, retail clinics generate relevant demand for IVD tests and vaccines that together represent manufacturer revenue of over $200 million and include cholesterol, glucose and rapid infectious CLIA-waived tests as well as routine booster shots.

The contours of retail clinic services are not immovable, but have increasingly settled under the limitations imposed by business costs, technology, and regulation. Contrary to claims by physician associations, retail clinics are unlikely to be disruptive to “physician-patient relations” or the healthcare system in general. Rather, retail clinics are significant within the greater healthcare market for pioneering new ways to increase healthcare system utilization by patients and deliver preventative care. Convenience clinics have been surprisingly influential to physician practice and urgent care center payment models, retail channel business strategies, and the formulation of continuity-of-care solutions  in a post-ACA world.

Kalorama Information’s Retail Clinics 2015: Growth of Stores, Consumer Opinion, Leading Competitors, Sales of Products to Clinics (Diagnostic Tests, Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines), Clinic Sales Forecasts and Trends utilizes a proprietary tracking survey of retail clinic patients and is supported by research into retail channel performance and business practices (from Packaged Facts); POCT, vaccine and pharmaceutical markets; and trends in out-of-pocket expenditures.