Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hospitals Feeling Competition from Retail Clinics?


1. Phoenix hospitals tout short emergency-room wait times in their advertising.

2. Baltimore hospitals try to improve emergency wait times. 

According to Merchant Medicine, Arizona has 54 retail clinics operated by Minute Clinic, Take Care and the Little Clinic, and Maryland has 29 retail clinics operated by Target, Minute Clinic and ImmediCare. 

Could hospitals in these states be responding to competition from the increasing number of retail health clinics, which are projected to continue to grow in the future (see chart above)?

9 Comments:

At 6/24/2010 11:30 AM, Blogger aldom said...

Here in little old Richmond Virginia, the major hospital group is touting short emergency waits AND the ability to use your mobile phone to determine which emergency room has the shortest wait at the moment.

If only we could get the gov'[t out of the business we might see some radical innovation in medicine.

Tom Scott

 
At 6/24/2010 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've reported on this before, Professor, but the flip side of this are efforts by the "medical industy" to stop the retail clinics. If the Feds were really interested in cost control, they would would have included at provision that prevented states from "licensing" these start ups out of existence.

 
At 6/24/2010 1:59 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

The guild of physicians obviously does not like the retail trend. If followed to its logical conclusion the current small number of physicians practice is a dinosaur. Instead you have the clinic, and good medical records so that medicine becomes a more standardized item. Did folks see the issue that a cat scan can increase the chance for cancer 80 times due to the radiation required. It seems that we need to somewhat go back to the old days, not assume the worst on first presentation but instead do more as in the old days. If the concern is monitoring, if we can put ankle bracelets on those on bond, it would seem that we could introduce monitoring devices for situations that are not clear, and provide what amounts to hotel rooms for those waiting, near the hospital but with no human monitoring. One could add sensors to see that the person is moving as well.

 
At 6/24/2010 5:19 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Did folks see the issue that a cat scan can increase the chance for cancer 80 times due to the radiation required. It seems that we need to somewhat go back to the old days, not assume the worst on first presentation but instead do more as in the old days."

Lyle, ignoring the expense, do the benefits of a CAT scan outweigh the risks by a considerable amount?

 
At 6/25/2010 12:54 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

To answer Ron H it depends upon what the reason for the scan is and how recently the last one is done. Since it appears that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in medicine, a lot of scans are done because the records of the recent scan are lost in the system. Perhaps everyone should be given a dvd with a record of their scan to take with them. Its is noted that the US does twice the number of scans of other countries, and recent surveys show we have among the worst health care outcomes in the developed world.
This is in line with the recent discussion that screening can often find cancers that will not grow before something else kills you. (This is why the cutoff is often 70-75 now for a lot of screenings, beyond that age slow growing cancers are not what is going to kill you)

 
At 6/25/2010 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps everyone should be given a dvd with a record of their scan to take with them."

As, in fact, was the case at a hospital in Orange Country about 3 years ago. I had the scan done and they handed me the DVD as I went out the door.

 
At 6/25/2010 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hospital space is very expensive and the gov't regulations are pretty tough. They'll never be able to compete on that level.

 
At 6/25/2010 9:52 AM, Blogger juandos said...

anon @ 6/25/2010 9:32 AM says: "Hospital space is very expensive and the gov't regulations are pretty tough"...

Interesting point, something I had to look up...

Consider the following from Regence Blue Cross - Blue Shield:

What Drives Up Health Care Costs?

Health care costs in the United States have risen from $1,100 per person per year in 1980 to nearly $7,900 today. Medical advances during this time deliver value, but not commensurate with the rising costs that push health insurance rates beyond the reach of too many of us. Claiming one in every six cents Americans spend ($2.3 trillion), out-of-control health care costs threaten our entire economy. (10 reasons listed)

 
At 6/25/2010 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps getting a handle on the trial lawyers would eliminate the main incentive for ordering many of these tests.

 

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