Clinics boom as care moves closer to home

As the healthcare landscape continues to undergo significant changes, a new report by Marketdata Enterprises puts a number against a highly valuable and fast-growing segment of health care that will continue to grow regardless of who is elected president and what happens to healthcare reform: retail-based health clinics.


The September 2012 report, titled “The Market for Retail Health Clinics and Urgent Care Centers,” examined the operations of both convenient care clinics and urgent care centers.


“Health care is moving closer to the consumer — at home via telemedicine and online, and where they work and shop (e.g., supermarkets, drug stores and big-box chains, such as Target and Walmart). Consequently, investors, retailers and hospital systems have recognized this, and the number of ‘convenient care’ clinics and ‘urgent clinic’ centers is growing strongly. It’s likely to stay that way through 2016,” according to the report.


Right now, the urgent care centers are the big piece of the pie, dwarfing retail health clinics both in terms of revenues and number of locations. 


However, DSN believes that will eventually change. Why? Retailers like Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Target and Walmart can deliver a scalability that regional urgent care operators simply cannot. For one thing, such retailers already have the stores and the best real estate.


According to Marketdata, an independent market research publisher of studies about service industries, average revenues per retail clinic are $512,000, making the market worth about $694 million in 2011. Marketdata analysts forecast that by 2016 there will be about 2,700 retail clinics in operation, generating revenues of $1.38 billion. 


“Roughly 20% of the total number of clinics from 2014 on will be new ones. One would expect their caseloads to be lower than ‘mature’ or established clinics. However, the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act and the primary care MD shortage, plus the influx of 32 million new people into the healthcare system, should override that,” the report stated.


In a statement sent to DSN, Convenient Care Association executive director Tine Hansen-Turton said, “CCA expects to see significant growth in the sector in the next couple of years, and it’s exciting to see how the model of care has helped transform health care to be consumer-driven.”