Most Retail Clinic Users Also Have a Physician They See Regularly: Report

Consumers who have gone to a retail clinic in the past year are far more likely to have a physician that they have seen in the last year than not, says Kalorama Information. The healthcare market researcher has studied healthcare clinics within a store setting for a decade, and says that users of healthcare clinics within drugstores or other retailers are also more likely to have a regular physician than the general population. All of this is according to Kalorama Information’s most recent survey (Jan-Feb 2017). Kalorama Information released their latest report on the Retail Clinic industry, Retail Clinics 2016, last year.

Retail clinics are medical venues located entirely in retail settings such as a grocery store or drugstore. There are over 2,200 of them in the United States, and CVS and their Minute Clinic brand dominates the market. (Walgreens is second.) They are not urgent cares nor physician offices, handle a small menu of services and usually are staffed by one practitioner.

Kalorama’s findings were based on a web survey of 2,000 American adults, selected based on average U.S. population demographics. Kalorama’s survey also found that those who have a regular physician are 54% more likely to go to a retail clinic than those who have not seen a doctor in the last year.

“You could read this to mean there is a set of healthcare consumers that both physicians and retail clinics compete for,” said Bruce Carlson, Publisher of Kalorama Information. “Now, that might concern physician practices. Indeed, retail clinics have concerned medical groups since their origin. But we’ve also seen this statistic of high physician usage among retail clinic users over four years of doing these surveys.”

Carlson thinks this is evidence that retail clinics are creating healthcare visits, or taking advantage of otherwise unfulfilled healthcare needs, rather than taking away from existing providers.

The survey also showed that those who have a regular physician are more likely to go more often to the clinic. Retail clinic visitors who do not have a physician were more likely to go once or twice, while retail clinic visitors with a physician were using the retail clinic more often. 50% of retail clinic visitors who had a physician visited the retail clinic 3 times or more. (Of those who visited a retail clinic who did not have a regular physician, this statistic was 45%) Retail clinic visitors without a regular physician are likely to visit the retail clinic only once in a year, maybe twice.

To be certain survey respondents understood the retail clinic question, they were asked “Have you visited a retail clinic in the last 12 months, either for yourself or to take children or others? Retail clinics (such as MinuteClinic in CVS drugstores) typically are small walk-in clinics staffed by a single medical attendant, located within a retail setting, and are not urgent care centers.” Of the 2,000 surveyed, 866 answered that they had visited a retail clinic.