retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports this morning that “amid the economic downturn and slow growth for retail and outpatient medical care services, pharmacy giants Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp. are rolling out new specialized services at their in-store clinics, going beyond treatment of routine maladies.”

The two retailers appear to be doubling down on their bets that in-store health clinics can be an effective and profitable way to address shortcomings that are seen in the nation’s healthcare system, making certain kinds of basic care both more affordable and accessible.

According to the story, “retail clinic operators now are training nurses to do specialized injections for such chronic conditions as osteoporosis and asthma. In addition, they are offering treatments for advanced skin conditions that include removal of warts and skin tags or closing minor wounds. Care for minor ‘sprains and strains’ also is being offered at some retailers, and pilot projects are underway for breathing treatments and special infusions of drugs derived from biotechnology.”

KC's View:
The good news, I think, is that the clinics where such expansions are taking place seem to be working with physicians in developing such options…which means that perhaps some of doctors’ resistance to the existence of in-store health clinics may be subsiding somewhat. Many see them as a threat, but it seems to me that this is a kind of typical mistake – not realizing that the paradigm is changing, and being so locked into old ways that one is unable to adapt to new realities.

This is usually the path to irrelevance.