Retail Clinics: Changing the healthcare delivery paradigm

Changing the Healthcare Delivery Paradigm

WE Communications Blog: Health

8/21/2018
— Health Sector Team 

Retail Clinics: Changing the healthcare delivery paradigm

Local retail health clinics are providing consumers with more affordable healthcare options for wellness visits and minor illnesses. Consumers have gradually embraced this healthcare delivery model, thus shifting non-urgent care out of the traditional hospital setting. It’s not just consumers that are embracing this paradigm shift — employers are also taking a serious look at how on-site healthcare clinics can reduce healthcare costs.

CVS Health recently announced that its Minute Clinic will provide access to 24/7 video consults from a mobile device for $59 per visit. The service will be available to patients two years of age and older for minor illnesses and injuries, skin conditions, and other wellness needs. Walgreens and New York Presbyterian Hospital have created “on-demand” kiosks inside Duane Reade stores in Manhattan. Customers can go into private, secure kiosks insides stores and get an instant examination, diagnosis and treatment for non-life-threatening injuries. Walgreens took it one step further with Find Care Now, a digital platform and marketplace that helps connect the company’s millions of mobile and online visitors to healthcare services at Walgreens stores and to a growing selection of recognized providers in the community.

Amazon, always an industry pioneer, is opening primary care clinics at its Seattle headquarters, with plans to expand the model to other locations in 2019. If this strategy proves successful in lowering Amazon’s healthcare costs, other companies will follow suit with some type of on-demand healthcare. While not every company has Amazon’s resources, retail clinics could be valuable partners to businesses and insurers that need to keep costs down, and to hospitals that need to keep non-urgent cases out of the emergency room.

Communication strategies for retail clinics 

Paradigm shifts like these in healthcare take a long time. To remain competitive, retail clinics must engage in long-term strategic communications campaigns that engage consumers while leveraging data to demonstrate the benefits of utilizing retail clinics and digital platforms for basic healthcare needs. Communications professionals in this area should consider these strategies.

Lead with the quality of care 

Retail clinics must demonstrate that the quality of care received at their locations and via their digital platforms is equal to, if not greater than, the quality of care patients would receive in a doctor’s office for minor illnesses. Simply put, if you offer a better service in a more convenient location, you’ll attract more customers.

Highlight the value

More and more consumers are enrolled in high-deductible healthcare plans; as a result, they are becoming more selective about when they engage with their primary care physicians. A lower-cost but equal or higher-quality alternative is going to be appealing as consumers shoulder more of their healthcare costs.

Share real-world examples

Statistics and data are critical points in healthcare, but nothing moves people more than real-world examples. Retail clinics should share stories of consumers who are benefiting from their services.  

Prioritize B2B communications

With every single organization needing to reduce healthcare costs, retail clinics have an opportunity to go beyond consumers and form partnerships that will enhance their credibility and their reach. Communications should focus on the value retail clinics bring to patients combined with the potential costs savings to businesses and insurers.