Diagnostic centers at nexus of health care

No picture of the evolving landscape of retail health care would be complete without including the growing nationwide network of diagnostic screening centers. Serving patients on both an appointment and walk-in basis, the centers sit at the nexus of healthcare decision-making, serving as a bridge and decision-making tool for primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals, ambulatory care centers and pharmacies.

The field is dominated by Madison, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics, which now operates testing labs and patient service centers throughout the United States and in many foreign countries, but many regional and local testing centers also are luring patients and their physicians with a growing menu of health screenings.

Diagnostic work at the centers can range from blood work for a wide range of disease screenings to MRIs, ultrasound, digital mammography and radiology. Results are quickly available both to patients and their health providers.

The market for such services is significant. To cite an example, Quest reported revenues of $3.8 billion for the first half of fiscal 2012 ended June 30, with operating earnings of $670 million.

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