Many physicians bemoan the fact that we have retail, corporate run walk in clinics, such as the Minute Clinics run by CVS, staffed with nurse practitioners and PAs.
But, like it or not, the Minute Clinic and other variants of a consumer-friendly model are going to become an increasing part of the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S. And, they’re going to become an increasing force as the gateway to physicians (especially to specialists), to facilities, and to ancillary service providers.
The reality is that that’s the future. The question is whether you’re going to attempt to stop it or whether you’re going to do something to align your practice and the way it operates with that type of future.
Note that I don’t mean that you have to align with CVS (or any other drug store chain) in particular. I’m simply using CVS as an example, but with its coming combination with Aetna, expect that they’ll be pushing hard to assemble their own, integrated provider network in an attempt to crush competition from hospital-centric healthcare.
Instead, I’m urging that you pause to consider how the increasingly consumer friendly model will impact your practice. And, better yet, that you consider how you can participate, whether as a direct operator, a co-venturer, or simply as a referral-receiving provider, in the future of the retail healthcare market.
When you’re doing this thinking, consider that there’s no one, single model. The concept isn’t limited to the in-retail-store model. It’s as varied as app-based portals, to walk-in clinics, to “surgery center centers of excellence,” to wellness centers, and on and on.
I’m sure that carriage manufacturers took one look at the Model T and thought “we should pass laws to keep these things off the road.” But saying that, or even screaming that, didn’t stop cars from running over their business.
Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.
Mark F. Weiss