Retail stores expand to include walk-in health clinics

Recently there has been a push for retailers to add walk-in health clinics to popular stores in an effort to create more comprehensive business plans. Companies such as Walgreens and Walmart, which work to address a number of customer needs across industries, are now turning to face the increasing demands of the aging baby boomer population. 

The Washington Post reports that there is currently a shortage of doctors in the U.S., particularly in the area of primary-care. One study shows that 73 percent of Americans are not able to receive basic treatment on weeknights or weekends without paying a visit to the emergency room, and retailers are trying their best to fill this treatment gap between check-up and urgent care.

Walk-in care centers typically have nurse practitioners on staff, and clinics often offer lower costs and shorter waiting times than emergency rooms or urgent-care centers. There has been controversy over whether or not retailers are prepared to offer quality healthcare services to customers, but overall it seems that quality-of-care is not affected and customers are more likely to address health issues when care centers are conveniently placed and cost-effective.

Walmart also has a winning strategy in specifically targeting communities that lack ample healthcare services. Forbes quotes Alicia Daugherty, overseer of the Advisory Board, as saying, "Both Texas and South Carolina have primary care access problems, [but] interestingly, the access problem is specifically related to cost. And neither state is expanding Medicaid, so both will continue to have a group of uninsured who will prioritize cost when seeking care. Obviously, both also have high rates of obesity, smoking, chronic conditions, and poverty." 

Retailers are not only meeting demand for a product but also adding a competitive edge to healthcare services, possibly resulting in better options for consumers. Businesses should be sure to update their credit card payment processors so all clinic transactions are synthesized in the company's central server, as this can provide important data analysis at the beginning of a trial period for a new service. 

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