NEW YORK It seems as though each week more evidence surfaces suggesting that retail-based clinics will be a solution to the country’s healthcare crisis, regardless of which direction reform takes. This week was no exception.
Painting a grim picture for primary care, USA Today reported the number of U.S. medical school students going into primary care has dropped by more than 50% since 1997. Regardless of the reason for the drop - whether it is longer hours, lower pay or less glamour than being, say, a brain surgeon - the bottom line is that the physician shortage only looks to intensify in the years ahead.
This means that retail-based clinics will play an increasingly important role in today’s healthcare system, helping to serve on the frontlines of U.S. health care. This already is becoming evident as such clinic operators as MinuteClinic, Take Care Health Systems and RediClinic expand their service offerings. However, this also is playing out in other branches of the convenient care industry, such as with operator Roadside Medical Clinic + Lab, which operates a network of retail health clinics for over-the-road professional truck drivers.
Through a licensing deal with emergency room physician Dr. Royce Brough, Roadside Medical is expanding by 11 sites throughout six states. The mission of Roadside Medical: To deliver convenient health care to professional drivers coast to coast - 4.2 million over-the-road professional drivers to be exact. This expansion shows where people who pay for their own health care and have access issues (i.e., truckers, many of who are self-employed, private contractors who pay for their own coverage) go when they need care.