Sunday, April 15, 2007

McClinics: Convenient Care Clinics Are Taking Off

Thanks to Alan Goldberg, Moderator of the AHLA HIT listserve for linking to this article in the Economists on McClinics.

The article caught my eye with the following first paragraph:
“IN NO other industry is the relationship between the consumer and the provider as unbalanced as in health care,” says Joseph Maloney of Health Stop, a pioneering retail health-care chain. In a recent case study on his firm prepared by Regina Herzlinger of Harvard Business School, Dr Maloney observed that the typical patient frequently waits a week for an appointment, then an hour longer at the doctor's office or, worse yet, is forced to go to an emergency treatment centre. As Dr Maloney summarised, “Any dry-cleaner that operated this way would be put out of business.”
The article also covers RediClinic, another Steve Case funded health venture which is part of the "Revolution" concept of Revolution is - Resorts - Living - Health - Future. This week Revolution Health will be making its official debut.

For the practitioner's view on RediClinics check out The Solo Practitioner and more from Technorati.

UPDATE: Over the last couple of weeks there have been numerous articles and online discussion regarding Walmart, CVS (Minute Clinic) and Target's movement into the retail clinic concept and what impact it might have on the traditional model of physician office health care delivery. The WSJ Health Blog post about whether retail clinics will be the disruptive innovators of health care. The WSJ Health Blog poses the following Health Blog Question of the Day: Are retail clinics a force for good or a prescription for bad medicine?

I will be interested to watch how the West Virginia's provider communities, legislature and health regulators look at the development of these clinics.

There are a number of legal issues that quickly come to mind as a part of developing these in West Virginia and other states. For example, how will these clinics be viewed, especially if they offer some diagnostic services under West Virginia's certificate of need laws. How will the clinics be viewed within the gray area of West Virginia's corporate practice of medicine doctrine. What position will the Board of Medicine take on these clinics.

I'm also intrigued by the idea that these types of clinics might become the backbone of a national health information network. If anyone is good at standardization at low cost its Walmart. Why not Walmart EMR. In West Virginia, like many other rural states, Walmart has become the defacto center of commerce in small communities. Here in West Virginia the local hospital and Walmart are the two biggest employers in most rural counties. Interesting to see that Walmart's clinic concept includes contracting with local hospitals.

UPDATE (5/18/07): Walgreen Co. is the latest to get into the convenient health care clinic area with its announcement of the acquisition of Take Care Health Systems. According the the news article,Take Care Health Systems operates 50 health care clinics in Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Pittsburgh." For more on the acquisition here is the Walgreen press release.

1 comment:

wannabe said...

How are Redi Clinic and Minute CLinic avoiding the Virginia law that NP's can only prescribe at the MAIN LOCATION of their supervising physician- doctors are not seeing patients at the local CVS.
{A separate office for the nurse practitioner shall not be established. 54.1-2957.01(E)(2) and 18 VAC 90-40-100.}