Retail clinics should join front lines of America’s health care
WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT Emergency room visits have been — and continue to be — on the rise, and if the recently passed healthcare reform is not coupled with an aggressive game plan to deliver healthcare services to the newly insured, the ER will continue to be the first place many seek care. One way to ease the pressure on overburdened ERs: Establish more retail-based clinics.
(THE NEWS: Op-ed: Retail clinics are the answer to ER overcrowding, costs. For the full story, click here)
That advice is not coming from an executive at a retail-based clinic operator or even an industry analyst; it’s from an ER doctor telling it like it is in a recently published op-ed in The Washington Post.
As the op-ed stated, there are four ways to steer some of the patients with only minor ailments from bottlenecked ERs. The first two:
- First, establish more offices and clinics that are not based in hospitals (and do not carry hospital overhead). The recent trend toward low-cost, retail- and pharmacy-based clinics has been a relative success for what these facilities offer: quick evaluation and treatment for simple problems. They have been found to cost less than one-fifth of what an ER costs for the same complaint
- Second, invest in allied professionals and paraprofessionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical technicians to deliver much of this basic care. Training more primary-care physicians will not be enough.
What’s critical is that such views don’t fall on deaf ears because the reality is that healthcare reform will provide coverage to about 32 million uninsured people.
The good news is that several industry players, like MinuteClinic, for example, are clearly reading the writing on the wall. MinuteClinic, which is owned by CVS Carmark, has indicated that it could double its current number of clinics in five years. MinuteClinic currently has 500 locations in 25 states, making it the largest such provider. MinuteClinic also is looking to increase the number of services offered, specifically those services for patients with chronic illnesses.
"Healthcare reform is a positive development for retail clinics because there are about 30 million people who are currently uninsured who will have healthcare coverage," stated Andrew Sussman, M.D., president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer for CVS Caremark, in a statement recently sent to Drug Store News. "Add to that the aging of the population and the shortage of primary care practitioners and the opportunity for services such as those provided by MinuteClinic has the potential for growth."
Huggies launches jeans diapers
DALLAS Kimberly-Clark has introduced a limited-edition denim-inspired diaper for its Huggies brand.
Huggies Little Movers jeans diapers are available nationwide from June to July. The jeans diapers were first launched in Israel in 2007 and expresses personal style, Kimberly-Clark said,
The release of the diapers will include a comprehensive integrated marketing program, including fashion shows, celebrity partnerships, social media, public relations, digital and e-commerce partnerships, TV, mall and Internet advertising, as well as highly visible and unique in-store displays and cross promotions.
“Jeans have always been a Mommy fashion must-have, but now it’s time for their little ones to steal the style,” said Stuart Schneider, senior brand director of Huggies. “The design helps babies stay trendy while keeping dry with the same revolutionary design and proven leakage protection that moms have come to know and trust from the Huggies brand.”
Huggies jeans diapers are available in three sizes, from size 3 (16-28 lbs) through size 5 (over 27 lbs) for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $9.59 for a jumbo pack and $19.99 for a big pack (diaper count varies based on diaper size).
Shoppers Drug Mart, Sony enter merchandising agreement
TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart has inked a deal with Sony to revitalize the Canada-based drug store chain’s service centers.
The agreement with Sony will result in the introduction of approximately 50 Sony products to the cmpany’s offering of consumer electronics, games and accessories in approximately 700 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores across the country. New products include Sony’s popular video game systems such as the PlayStation3 and PlayStation Portable, as well as an assortment of PlayStation games, accessories and peripherals.
The rollout will begin this fall.
“This agreement with Sony, coupled with the recent announcement of our distribution arrangement with Rogers, brings together leading brands and serves to further strengthen our value proposition and optimize the service center in our stores,” said Jurgen Schreiber, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. “Our customers have responded very favorably to our current assortment of consumer electronics and entertainment products. Enhancing our product assortment with popular Sony items will provide our customers with even greater choice and convenience in this growing category.”