Retail clinics positioned for dramatic growth
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Retail clinics and medical centers are poised to expand, thanks to several enhancements in technology.
Speaking at the American Telemedicine Association’s annual meeting in San Jose this week, Health Resources chairman and CEO Ron Hammerle, and Jay Sanders, president and CEO of at the Global Telemedicine Group and Health Resources VP, said that smartphones, medical centers of excellence, automated clinical labs and digital medical devices will transform retail-affiliated clinics into global ports of entry to prime health care at dramatically lower costs to patients, physicians, employers, governments and insurers.
Sanders, who also is president emeritus of the ATA, noted, however, that "healthcare providers have largely failed to… use established channels of distribution and low-cost technologies to serve patients better;" addressing the fact that retail clinics are sometimes overlooked as a viable option for treating patients.
On the flip side of the coin, Hammerle said such clinic retailers as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Rite Aid are beginning to see "major growth opportunities." A few prime examples is the offering of real-time appointment scheduling (Walgreens’ Take Care Clinics), clinical affiliation with hospitals and healthcare systems (as seen with CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic business) and the fact that since the inception of retail-based health clinics in 2000, the concept has grown to more than 1,300 locations throughout the United States.
"The next round of growth will electronically link large numbers of clinics, pharmacies and independently-owned and operated primary care clinics to a small number of medical centers of excellence, using telemedicine technologies, computer information and proven systems for branding, management and expansion," Hammerle said. "Imagine combining the distribution of global retailers, the branding models of companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Marriott and Century 21 and the clinical knowledge of some of the best physicians in the world. That’s where health care is going."
Shopko circular goes digital
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Shopko Stores, through a partnership with Wishabi, now is offering customers access to a digital circular online at Shopko.com.
Wishabi, a digital circular platform, helped build the online circular that will highlight Shopko’s weekly deals in an interactive, personalized way. Wishabi’s patent-pending technology allows consumers to quickly discover the best deals, get reviews and ratings and shop directly though the digital circular across all of their favorite devices. Using discount filters, consumers can browse deals by percentage off and utilizing circular categories, consumers can easily find the products they’re looking to buy.
"The launch of the new Shopko digital circular will provide our customers with an exciting, interactive online shopping experience," Shopko chairman, president and CEO Paul Jones said. "More intuitive navigation, improved graphics and the additional functionality combine to create a digital circular that’s fun, quick and easy to browse and shop."
Publix sees boost in Q1
LAKELAND, Fla. — First-quarter sales increased 4.2% to $7.1 billion for Publix, the company reported Tuesday.
Comparable-store sales experienced a 3.3% boost, while net earnings for the retailer totaled $409.4 million, compared with $398.2 million in the year-ago period, and net earnings per share rose 1 cent to 52 cents for the quarter.
The company also reported that effective May 1, Publix’s stock price increased from $22.40 per share to $22.70 per share. Publix stock is not publicly traded and is made available for sale only to current Publix associates and members of its board of directors.
"I’m pleased we had another increase in our stock price during a time of economic challenges," Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw said. "Our associates deserve the credit for continuing to make us a leader in our industry."