retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Walgreen is out with a report saying that "consumers are increasingly relying on retail clinics for help managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and asthma, as well as preventative care," Marketing Daily writes. "The study also reports that loyalty to these healthcare hybrids is growing, with more than half of patients who use them returning in the future."

The study says that "17% of visits to the clinics in 2013 were for preventive services, screening or chronic-illness visits, up from 4% in 2007. And once consumers use these services, they are liking them better: The report says more than 50% made return visits in 2013 and 2012, compared with 15% in 2007 … Walgreens says it also found that visits for health testing increased by 90% for people ages 18 to 64, while overall preventive health visits gained 66% in that time period. And patients over 65 are using the clinics more, with acute visits jumping 84%. "
KC's View:
To be fair, Walgreen does have some skin in this game, so it will position its clinics as being both efficient and effective at treating not just patients, but a societal need for available, affordable health care. And Walgreen's results do challenge a conclusion by a Harvard Business Review study calling the retail clinics "disappointing … Their growth has been less than expected, they have not expanded care to underserved markets (namely, the poor), and their impact on health care spending — helping to lower it — remains unclear."

But I'm actually willing to accept the basic premise that Walgreen is setting out. The more these clinics become available and accessible to people, the more patients are going to use them … and from my experience, visits usually are pleasant, easy and effective.