On the mass merchandiser front, Target Clinics, which number 44, are expected to expand this year outside of their current markets of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Baltimore-Washington, Chicago and South Florida.
“Target has the ideal shopper demographic — well-educated, dual-income parents with kids,” said Charland. “Target has a grocery format in Super Target that gives them an added strategy in healthy living.”
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores, with 154 clinics operated by numerous hospital systems in leased space, stated late last year it wants to get into primary care medicine. Wal-Mart put out a request for information (RFI) seeking a partnership on how to accomplish that goal.
“One theory is the RFI was issued to find a new [clinic] strategy. There are a lot of questions as to what their strategy will be — go more national with a partner and open clinics more quickly or take an occupational medicine approach,” Charland explained.
The current health care environment favors further development of retail clinics. It takes several years and two patients per hour before retail clinics become profitable, said Charland. Clinics are also challenged to generate business during non-seasonal periods such as summer when business tends to drop off. Programs such as RediClinic’s Weigh Forward will help offset slow revenue periods, he said.
“There are certain things we know that are going to happen. We are going to move away from fee for service payment in health care to one based on outcomes. That is going to happen, health reform or not, and when it happens all of a sudden the providers of health care are looking at how to keep people healthy and how to do it in the most efficient way possible. Retail health clinics start to become a platform for doing it faster, better and cheaper.”