The Intersection of Retail Healthcare, Locum Tenens, and Evolving Trends

by Amy Brooksbank | Jan 03, 2024 |
The Intersection of Retail Healthcare, Locum Tenens, and Evolving Trends

We are witnessing a profound transformation in healthcare delivery. Anyone who’s ever gotten a flu shot at a grocery store, had a blood screening at a big box retailer or received urgent care at a pharmacy was accessing “retail healthcare”. This segment of the medical industry has been reshaping traditional healthcare models. The synergy between retail healthcare and the role of locum tenens staffing, added to the evolving trends shaping the healthcare delivery sector, have disrupted the status quo. These trends have converged into a market shift that emphasizes accessibility, convenience, and adaptable staffing solutions.

How Does Retail Healthcare Represent a Paradigm Shift?

Retail healthcare represents a departure from traditional healthcare delivery models by offering medical services in non-traditional settings such as retail stores, pharmacies, and standalone healthcare centers. These clinics typically offer walk-in services, extended hours, and streamlined care for minor ailments, vaccinations, and basic medical needs. This approach is meant to prioritize convenience, especially when it’s preferable to skip the wait for a primary care doctor’s appointment. It also caters to the burgeoning demand for accessible and cost-effective healthcare solutions. The exponential growth of retail clinics underscores the increasing popularity of this model.

What Are the Trends Shaping Retail Healthcare?

Last December, Forbes identified retail healthcare as one of their top five healthcare trends in 2023. This is becoming an increasingly visible trend as retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and CVS offer healthcare services such as blood tests, vaccinations, and medical check-ups. Forbes argues that as budgets are squeezed at traditional frontline primary care facilities and retail healthcare providers offer choice and streamlined customer experiences, patients will continue to seek more convenience and better value than traditional primary care delivers.

Expansion of Retail Clinics and Staffing Needs

Retail clinics, known for their convenience and accessibility, have been on the rise. This expansion has triggered a surge in the need for healthcare professionals, including locum tenens staffing, to fulfill personnel requirements, particularly in retail clinics situated within pharmacies or supermarkets. The flexibility offered by locum tenens staffing aligns seamlessly with the needs of retail healthcare, ensuring continuity of care and quality service delivery.

Telehealth Integration

The integration of telehealth services within retail healthcare is gaining momentum. Telehealth partnerships with retail chains allow patients to access remote consultations and prescription refills, enhancing convenience and reducing barriers to care.

locum tenens staffing

Focus on Preventive Care

Retail healthcare is increasingly focusing on preventive services to improve population health. Retail clinics often promote preventive screenings, wellness exams, and lifestyle counseling, fostering a proactive approach to healthcare.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Collaborations between retail healthcare providers, insurance companies, and traditional healthcare systems are becoming prevalent. These partnerships aim to create a seamless continuum of care, offering patients integrated services and coordinated care pathways.

How Is the Retail Healthcare Market Structured?

Retail healthcare debuted in the US in 2001. In 2023, there were more than 1,800 active retail clinics in 44 states. The industry was valued at $2.71 billion in 2022 and, according to Fortune Business Insights is projected to grow from $2.79 billion in 2023 to $6.36 billion by 2030. The market is segmented, from largest to smallest, into retail pharmacies, groceries/retail stores, then others looking to participate in this rapidly growing industry.

Healthcare Finance News recently reported on 2023 research by Definitive Healthcare that gives a snapshot of the retail sector of the industry. Their data reveals that only six organizations in the retail healthcare market together own 90% of retail clinics. The top three industry players are listed below.

CVS

The pharmacy giant entered the retail clinic market in 2006. CVS now owns more than half of all retail clinic sites, a payor (Aetna), a pharmacy-benefits manager (Caremark), enhanced retail clinics (HealthHUBs) that focus on chronic disease management, a network of clinics for seniors on Medicare (Oak Street Health), and an in-home assessment company (Signify Health).

locum tenens staffing

Kroger

The fourth largest supermarket chain, Kroger acquired Kroger Health in 2010. With more than 220 retail clinics in 35 states, Kroger is the second-largest operator through its Little Clinic business, which puts a priority on disease prevention through “food as medicine” offerings such as telenutrition and food prescriptions.

Walgreens

Third-largest retail clinic player, Walgreens, has moved away from partnering with healthcare providers to owning them, demonstrated by its stake in primary care clinic chain VillageMD. The company had had plans to open 1,000 co-located primary care practices by 2027, with more than half in underserved communities. However, according to Becker’s Health IT, after Moody’s downgraded Walgreens Boots Alliance’s credit rating the organization announced a cost-cutting strategy that included closing 60 of its VillageMD primary care sites.

What Is the Future Outlook for Retail Healthcare?

The trajectory of retail healthcare is poised for continued growth and innovation. Industry experts project that retail healthcare will evolve further, incorporating advanced technologies, expanding service offerings, and enhancing collaborations within the broader healthcare ecosystem.

Locum tenens staffing has emerged as a vital component of the evolving retail healthcare landscape. Its role in addressing personnel needs, ensuring continuity of care, and supporting flexible staffing models is undeniable. As retail healthcare continues to expand, the strategic integration of locum tenens staffing is expected to be instrumental in meeting the evolving demands of patients and healthcare providers alike.

With ongoing advancements and strategic collaborations, retail healthcare stands to redefine the healthcare landscape, offering enhanced patient experiences and contributing to a more inclusive and responsive healthcare system.

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