Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Retail Health Clinics Empower Consumers

During the past few years, I've read about retail health clinics being the wave of the future. It wasn't until my son Jeremy visited a new MinuteClinic in a nearby CVS drugstore that I sat up and took notice. He walked in without an appointment and was seen within 15 minutes. They accepted his insurance, diagnosed his problem, wrote a prescription, and had him on his way a few minutes later. When he got a follow-up phone call at home days later to check on his condition, he was sold.

Located in mini-malls and discount stores, this new wave of small clinics is transforming the health care landscape. As we are paying more out of pocket for our medical care, we're approaching health care with more of a consumer's eye. We want to compare prices; we want convenience; and we want great customer service. That's what these clinics have to offer. I was a bit skeptical about treating strep throat just two aisles over from the hair-care products or taking the kids to the drugstore for their camp physicals. Now I'm changing my mind - and fast.

The way I see it, this new move toward retail health clinics empowers consumers by providing us with a new level of convenience and choice for routine and minor medical issues. That can't be a bad thing.

~Mary Hunt in the Pasadena Star-News


At 2/03/2009 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard Barney Frank say on Meet The Press that he wanted to "break the nexus between employment and healthcare." To do this, he wanted to have government assume control of healthcare.

What I don't understand is why we don't try to restructure healthcare to break the structure of a third payer paying for all medical services. Catastrophic health care with a deductible based on gross income combined with basic healthcare paid for by individuals would seem to be a viable structure.

Empowering individuals to find affordable solutions to check-ups and routine doctor visits and prescriptions would seem to foster competition for a large segment of the nation's healthcare needs.

At 2/03/2009 5:06 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

Additional nurse practitioners will be needed to further expand the role of retail health clinics. The health care system has great difficulty satisfying RN demand alone - even though one can become a registered nurse with a two-year community college education.

This is a great concept overall. If the nursing shortage is addressed, this will fly.

At 2/03/2009 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those interested in free market,consumer directed healthcare should check out the work of John Goodman at NCPA at www.ncpa.org.

Recently he mentioned the Healtcare Blue Book www.healtcareblulebook.com that publishes in a searchable format the typical cost of various medical services. for instance, in my zip, a chest x-ray + reading should cost me $47 if I can get the same price the big insurers get. the site gives suggestions on how to ask for the price. this is similar to the Consumer Reports service of giving you the dealer's actual cost of a car.

I haven't tried to do this yet but my med ins renewal will have me paying out of pocket for radiology services.

Another source I came across last year is an MD futurist named Patrick Dixon. He is expecting massive switching to consumer directed, non-Rx, non-MD medicine. He has some videos on his website.www.globalchange.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Dixon

At 2/03/2009 10:06 PM, Blogger J Young said...

This is fine and dandy for small ailments, but this is no means a cure for the problems of the health system in general. A minority of the sickest people create most of the health care costs and I doubt a person with CHF and diabetes is going to door-to-door shop at a local clinic at Walgreens.

At 2/04/2009 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard Barney Frank say on Meet The Press that he wanted to "break the nexus between employment and healthcare.


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