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Author: Suzanne Flynn/Thursday, December 13, 2018/Categories: Industry News
If big-box retailers have their way, customers will increasingly look to the physical store as the one-stop shop for all of life’s essentials, including medical services.
It’s a reality that’s already taking shape across the U.S. Last month, a mental health clinic run by Beacon Health Options began operating on an experimental basis within a Texas Walmart. Retail clinics (not to be confused with urgent care centers, which offer a larger array of acute health needs that don’t require an emergency room visit) are limited-service medical clinics within pharmacies or big-box stores that are typically staffed with nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Since 2001, around 2,000 retail clinics have sprung up within big-box stores like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Target (Target’s retail clinic and pharmacy operations were acquired by CVS Health in 2015).
The market is big: According to Grand View Research, the U.S. retail clinic market, which was valued at $1.4 billion in 2016 is expected to grow to $7.3 billion by 2025. And as stores face competition online, figuring out new ways to drive traffic has become critical. Retailers are recognizing that medical services, like other in-store advisory offerings like specialized technical support, can be important traffic and revenue drivers. There’s growing urgency as well: Amazon is breathing down their necks, having shown interests in health and wellness, through its acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack in June and its joint venture with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to create a new entity to tackle employer-run healthcare. So big-box retailers, including Walmart, want to use retail clinics as a means to drive traffic and create new revenue streams while Amazon continues to add competitive pressure.
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