Cost-conscious consumers consider convenient care clinics

NEW YORK There is a major opportunity for the expansion of retail-based health clinics, from providing preventative care to working with federal health programs and clinics to lower health costs, according to a report recently released by the health care consultants at the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

According to the Associated Press, the report showed that consumers, facing rising health care costs, are increasingly turning to healthcare alternatives, and that includes retail-based clinics. This finding underscores what has been widely reported by Lebhar-Friedman’s Drug Store News and Retail Clinician magazines.

It is important to note, however, that the goal of the convenient care industry is to augment—not replace—a patient’s primary care physician. The convenient care industry has taken great steps to partner with the medical community to ensure quality patient care and safety.

“Significant numbers of people are willing to vote with their feet to try something different, whether it’s retail clinics or medical tourism,” Paul H. Keckley, the center’s executive director, was reported as saying in the AP article. “U.S. providers are having to pay attention.”

A second Deloitte report, also obtained and reported on by the AP, showed that the number of people heading abroad for “medical tourism” could jump tenfold in the next decade to nearly 16 million Americas. These are Americas seeing such medical procedures as knee and hip replacements, nose jobs, prostate surgery and even heart bypasses.

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