Monday, January 07, 2008

Retail Clinics and Competition Are Forcing Change

I posted recently about Target's retail health care clinics that opened recently in Minnesota and Maryland offering "quick, convenient care from a certified profession for a variety of everyday illnesses - no appointment necessary." What do primary care physicians think about this competition from retail clinics at Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens? Any time consumer options increase and demand becomes more elastic, you can be pretty sure that status quo suppliers must be feeling some pressure from the increased competition. Here some evidence:

According to FierceHealthcare: Primary care physicians may not be sure what to do about competition from retail clinics--but this may be an option. Slowly but surely, clinics are trying new ways to make themselves flexible and accessible in ways that hadn't been common before. In Portland, for example, ZoomCare is open 362 days a year, offers evening hours, and accepts walk-in patients. Not only can they walk in, they can go online to schedule appointments and see how long their wait time will be. Zoomcare was profitable in 2007, and patient volume is growing 20 percent per quarter.

Read a related Portland Business Journal article here.

MP: Isn't it interesting that starting in the 1960s Wal-Mart pioneered an entirely new method of discount retailing and in the process broke up the old, static, stagnant retail model of high-priced department stores of that era. Perhaps the new retail model of providing low-cost retail healthcare at Wal-Mart and Target will ultimately have the same effect on the medical status quo and the AMA's cartel?

6 Comments:

At 1/08/2008 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe. The National Association of Realtors responded to competition from discount brokerages by lobbying state legislatures to make less than full-service brokerage illegal. I don't doubt that the AMA could respond similarly to discount doctors.

 
At 1/08/2008 8:32 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

AMA is the #1 reason healthcare costs are high. I love it how they like to blame the high costs on their high malpractice insurance rates. I am sure they do not like all the malpractice lawsuits they face and I have no doubt that has an effect on costs, but the much bigger effect on costs come from the fact that they are an anti-competitive, monopolistic, government sponsored guild.

But who will have the courage in main stream politics to stand up and say, "Doctors are overpaid".

 
At 1/08/2008 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm. To the anonymous 3 AM poster, I'm kinda doubting that any state is in favor of reducing access to doctors providing affordable health services.

Also, while I'm fully aware that realtors "live by a higher code of ethics" (per the comical commercial) than the rest of the world....sorry....I'm still laughing and vomiting, all at the same time....let's not compare them to doctors who, even if they choose to provide their services in a retail environment, have completed significantly more in the way of education and training than any realtor. I believe you can probably become a real live realtor without ANY degree.

 
At 1/08/2008 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With France best, U.S. worst in preventable death ranking according to this this report it is about time for something different.

If the U.S. health care system performed as well as the top three countries, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year, according to researchers writing in the journal Health Affairs.

France did best -- with 64.8 deaths deemed preventable by timely and effective health care per 100,000 people, in the study period of 2002 and 2003. Japan had 71.2 and Australia had 71.3 such deaths per 100,000 people. The United States had 109.7 such deaths per 100,000 people, the researchers said.

After the top three, Spain was fourth best, followed in order by Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland and Portugal, with the United States last.

 
At 1/08/2008 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The AMA wishing to retain it's position as high priest of medical care in the U.S. now has the answer to Target in it's Voice for the Uninsured

From the AMA website referenced above...

Facts:

More than 47 million Americans are uninsured. 80 percent come from working families. 20 percent are children.

The United States spends nearly $100 billion to provide uninsured patients with health services, often for preventable diseases or diseases more efficiently treated with early diagnoses. This burden is shouldered by everyone.



We all need to vote with these issues in mind in November 2008 and help drive change in the American health care system.


The AMA Proposal:

* To provide all Americans with the means to purchase health care coverage

* To give individuals choices to select the appropriate coverage for them and their families

* To promote market reforms that enable this new approach

 
At 1/13/2008 1:11 AM, Anonymous Drs are not sales clerks Beware the risks of the nanny state said...

Lets pretend for a moment that the AMA has no useful function in regards to quailty of care.

Let us further stipulate that the cost of a medical degree in a sunk cost as regards quaity of care.

And we will further stipulate that seeking heath care and acting of the profession option rendendered there by is no more complicated than buying a barbaque.

Oh and there is no longer the issue of malpractice has there is no longer any reason to think that a health care provider has any professional responsiblity.


In such an event the cost of care will drop.

In the old west medial care was rendered by the blacksmith,as he at least had the tools..

I am looking forward to the litigation give that few of these stipulation are in fact reasonable.

Moreover I am not even willing to discuss the implication that preventable care is amenable to the concept of distrubuted risk which is the basis of the insurance concept.


In regards to the dubious notion that " preventable death" is the goal of health care, please considier that most preventable death follows from lifestyle issue,such as smoking, BMI, fitness and the like. from which is follows that if the governemnt has a "compeling state interest" in preventing such death then it has the right compel conformance to a health code.Indeed it may even be argued that if the goverment is responsible for the cost of health care then it can refuse to treat certion high cost individuals, and even enfore "family planing" ( or in this case non family planing)



I can say this knowing that few will head my warning,and that such fachism will come to pass. As I will be dead by then it is for your children to curse your memory for having traded you liberty so cheaply.

 

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