Healthcare Goes Retail

David Wirth • 8/29/2019
The proverbial “family doctor’s office” where you make an annual check-up appointment with your primary care physician or schedule a visit for your sick child may become a thing of the past.

Healthcare Goes Retail

Once common practice, these visits are changing quickly, rivaled by new, more convenient options. With changing health insurance landscapes and convenience becoming key, loyalty to physicians is disintegrating. Instead, patients are focusing on more accessible healthcare solutions; on-demand services that don’t break the bank. With changing health insurance landscapes and convenience becoming key, loyalty to physicians is disintegrating. Instead, patients are focusing on more accessible healthcare solutions; on-demand services that don’t break the bank.

These new consumer habits are changing the retail landscape. The growing trend favoring mixed-use destinations – with more amenities to support the live/work/play lifestyle – includes the need for easily available, convenient healthcare. As a result, the influx of Urgent Care Centers (UCC) and Retail Clinic care delivery models is on the rise.

Cushman & Wakefield’s latest whitepaper on the topic, titled Vital Signs Spotlight: The Urgent Care Surge, discusses the rise of UCCs and other similar models as a response to these growing demands. UCC are defined as, “a medical clinic with expanded hours that is specially equipped to diagnose and treat a broad spectrum of non-life or limb-threatening illnesses and injuries.” The number of UCCs tracked in the U.S. by the UCA (Urgent Care Association) have increased 44% from 6,100 in 2013 to over 9,000 at the end of 2018.

pediatriation with childRetail clinics are similar to UCCs but are more limited in scope of services they provide and are typically part of a pharmacy or convenience store chain such as Walgreens Healthcare Clinic and CVS Minute Clinic. According to the report, retail clinics often don’t have physicians on-site, instead staffing locations with physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners for simple preventative procedures such as flu shots and strep tests. The report also discusses the potential for retail clinics expansion as a game changer — from only 8% of the population having access in 2015 to estimating, “coverage would jump above 50% if every major retail pharmacy store (e.g., Walgreens, CVS) opened a retail clinic, and retail clinics would be convenient to over 75% of the U.S. population if every major retail giant (e.g., WalMart) opened a retail clinic.” However, according to the WD Partners’ report Healthcare: Who Survives? Serving Consumers on Their Terms, UCCs outperform Retail Clinics on all measures, from quality of care to availability, speed, convenience, staff, insurance coverage and price. Those surveyed expressed more likelihood to visit a retail clinic if additional specialty services were added – such as blood testing, treating allergies, nutritional and weight management advisory and massages.

UCCs, according to one client, “want to be where customers live their lives.” This means close to grocery and other retail daily-needs providers. In a world where retail store closure announcements seem like a daily occurrence, UCCs offer an Amazon-proof solution to vacancy and can provide rent-roll stability often backed by credit healthcare providers. The growing number of UCC providers translates to multiple models offering size flexibility with square footages ranging from under 2,000 SF to over 8,000 SF.

For consumers, providers, and real estate owners this is an exciting crossroad in the healthcare industry. For healthcare providers to be successful continued evolution will be key ensuring their model offers an elevated experience with high quality service, in a convenient location, at an affordable price.

To learn more or to download a copy of Cushman & Wakefield’s latest report CLICK HERE.

Watch David Wirth’s interview at ICSC RECon 2019 on the subject here:


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