Disruptive Innovation from the Invasion of the Retail Health Clinics: A 20X Increase in 9 Years
From the conclusion section of a recent study from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions titled "Retail Clinics: Update and Implications":
"Retail clinics represent a new channel to deliver primary care services more conveniently and at lower cost to consumers. Clinic services are safe and effective, due in large measure to medical management programs that are evidence-based and supported by electronic medical records.
As a new entrant, retail clinics represent a threat to many traditional health care industry stakeholders; however, to consumers, health plans and employers they offer an important care alternative with a strong value proposition.
We expect this new sector to mature while growing its scope of services, locations and impact on population-based health status. Meanwhile, the emergence of retail clinics presents challenges and benefits to others in the industry:
• For local physicians and hospitals, developing a retail strategy that offers competitive pricing, services and value propositions to health plans, employers and consumers will be a requisite.
• For health plans, data suggests that retail clinics are here to stay; they can be safely promoted to enrollees/employers as a valuable part of benefit design.
• For consumers, retail clinics offer an alternative to inaccessible primary care services, inappropriate visits to emergency rooms and unnecessary health care expenditures.
In conclusion, the growth and evolution of retail clinics reflect opportunities for disruptive innovation and an improved value proposition for the U.S. health care system."
MP: The chart above shows the projected phenomenal growth in retail health clinics according to Deloitte for years through 2014 and Merchant Medicine for 2015. There have even been some studies predicting that the number of clinics could reach 6,000 by next year, but that seems unrealistic. But the growth trend in retail clinics is nothing short of phenomenal - going from just 200 clinics in 2006 to possibly 4,000 by the year 2015 - a twenty-fold increase in just nine years!!
While Congress debates its "overhaul" of the U.S. healthcare system, there is already a market-based overhaul happening with the explosion of cost-saving, convenient health clinics around the country. If only this explosion of retail clinics had happened five or ten years ago, we probably wouldn't even be having to tolerate hearing about how Obama, Pelosi and Reid are going to "fix" our health care system.