“Club of Knowledge Hunters”

Retail health clinics are popular, but lack oversight

Posted by retailigence on October 4, 2008

The story on the website goes something like this. It’s cold in Minnesota during the winter. And when you have a sick child, that cold is your enemy. A small prescription or pinkeye can turn into an ordeal if you end up digging your way out. Doctors’ offices close, and many parents end up in the emergency room with sick kids. One Minnesota dad decided that there must be a better way to deal with the issue. And thus Minute Clinic was born.

Minute Clinic is that ubiquitous storefront nurse who can diagnose very basic issues like ear infections and strep throat in convenient locations like your local pharmacy or (as I discovered recently) the skyway. The idea is simple enough. A person is sick; the problem is not a huge one. A nurse practitioner diagnoses and sends you back out into the world, prescription in hand to take on the day. And hey, if the Minute Clinic happens to be in a pharmacy, even easier.

Ahhh, if life were just that simple. The Minute Clinic “retail health care” model is gaining popularity, growing from just 83 locations in 2006 to over 500 in 2007. By the end of 2008, more than 2,000 locations are projected to be up and running. Much of that growth stemmed from a partnership between pharmacy giant CVS and Minute Clinic. But Minute Clinic isn’t in the retail clinic business alone. There are at least a dozen competitors that follow the same model, with names like MedicalMart and SmartCare. And while expansion and growth in retail clinics is slowing with the economy, it’s still the fastest-growing sector in the medical field today.

Written :- By Elizabeth Rich

Source:- minnpos


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