In-store Clinics' Popularity Growing: Study

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Regardless of the skeptical and in some cases negative stance some health plans and physicians have taken on these clinics, shoppers are responding favorably to in-store health clinics, according to research released yesterday by HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a provider of managed care market intelligence.

"Some health plans have embraced the fast clinics, making them in-network providers, while others are more wary of the concept," said Jane DuBose, associate director of health plan analysis for HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

Several national insurers, including Aetna, CIGNA and UnitedHealthcare, have contracted with retail clinics, and smaller regional plans are also jumping on board, said the organization, citing results of the latest Washington, D.C. Market Overview report, which revealed UnitedHealthcare's contractual agreement with RediClinic includes nine new clinics which opened in the Richmond, Virginia area earlier this year.

For some insurers, the clinics fit under insurers' broader strategy of cost transparency, choice and convenience, and insurers realize the popularity of these clinics with their members. In addition, health plans' biggest customers, employer groups, also like the retail-based clinics because employees seek care on less company time, said DuBose.

"Opponents believe these clinics disrupt patients' relationships to a primary care provider, and some health plans argue well-coordinated, cost- effective care through a provider who can monitor the whole picture of a patient's healthcare needs is a more efficient standard to follow," said DuBose.

CVS, the owner of MinuteClinic, has locations in 19 states, and Walgreens recently announced an agreement to purchase Take Care Health Systems with expectations to open 400 clinics in its stores by the end of 2008.

For additional insight into retail-based health clinics, visit
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