Monday, November 26, 2012

Kalorama Finds 21% of U.S. Adults Have Visited a Retail Clinic

 The number of adults who are familiar with retail clinics and have used them has increased greatly in the past five years, according to Kalorama Information.  The healthcare market research firm conducted a survey of 2,000 U.S. adults and found  21.3% of those surveyed have visited a retail clinic.  The Kalorama survey result is a significant increase over polls six years ago which showed less than 10%.     
Take Care Clinic Locations in Atlanta

We've studied retail clinics in depth since 2007.  We attribute the result to the growth of stores at top retail chains, growth of clinic traffic and the bunching of clinics in certain cities.  The finding was made in our complete market research survey on retail clinics, Retail Clinics 2012: Growth of Stores, Consumer Opinion Surveys, Winning Competitors, Supplier Sales of Products to Clinics, Clinic Sales Forecasts and Trends.
Retail clinics, also called convenience clinics, are mostly located in drug stores but also in retailers such as Walmarts and Targets, grocery stores and even malls.

  The basic premise is that they take advantage of the retailers traffic, and provide defined services generally though a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant..  Especially attractive to customers, they offer walk in service, better hours than the average physician office, and lower costs.  The concept survived the recession, the opposition of medical associations and state legislatures.  A shortage of primary care physicians, rising concerns about access and costs, and now a health reform plan which has so met political and constitutional challenges, is expected to send new patients to clinics.   

 This and the ever-older Baby Boomer population have combined to create a unique prescription for success.  Most importantly, drug stores embraced the concept and the two largest drugstore chains in the United States, CVS and Walgreens are behind the concept. 

The other side of the survey result, of course, is that nearly eighty percent have not visited a clinic There has been improvement in popular opinion, though there is still room to grow.  Almost all surveys show high satisfaction with retail clinics.   There are over 1,300 retail clinics, and we expect that number to grow, but growth in the amount of stores that house clinics has never been linear, and store count went down in the midst of the recession.   Stores have struggled with getting patients in summer and spring months.   Some well-known chains closed clinics in their stores.  These developments could produce a misinterpretation that the concept was on the decline.  But there are counter-developments to such a decline.  Prestigious academic medical centers entered the retail clinic business at the same time a number of chains dropped the idea.   

Physician practice and urgent care competition, labor shortages, competition for retail space and even limited non-clinic drugstore care options such as flu shot stations administered by pharmacies and patient management are limiting growth of clinics in stores.  

Kalorama’s report, Retail Clinics 2012 is a detailed look at the market for clinics in retail settings.  The report can be obtained at