Scattergood Foundation Design Challenge Winner to Bring Mental Health Services to Retail Clinics (Kristen Gillette, Philadelphia Generocity, 4/10/14)
The Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, a Quaker-based, philanthropic, grant-making foundation working to improve how behavioral healthcare is delivered in the Philadelphia region, chose the winner of its 2014 Design Challenge, “Wellness at Your Fingertips,” at the beginning of April.
This year’s design challenge asked individuals and organizations to create an intervention (an idea paired with a plan of action) that included an education, access or service component for behavioral and mental health services at retail clinics.
The point is not that the initiative will prove to be the most successful behavioral health innovation since sliced bread (clinical note: we’re not clinicians, but we are pretty sure sliced bread is NOT the most successful behavioral health innovation to date).
No, the point is that retail clinics are once again the petri dish for this kind of “let’s try it quickly, easily, inexpensively” health care innovation that if successful at some level will be good for everyonee – and if unsuccessful does not imperil entire industries, legions of professional careers, whole regional economies. Try matching that feature, state-of-the-art hospital system overhauls….
So good luck to challenge winner, Philadelphia Department of Health and Intellectual Disability Services, and congratulations to clinics for being the kind of health care ‘thing’ on/in/around which such an initiative can even be conceived.
This notwithstanding 2 recent news articles alleging the Affordable Care Act is fueling a clinics-opening surge:
Why Walk-in Health Care is a Fast-Growing Profit Center for Retail Chains, Martha Hamilton, Washington Post, 4/3/14)
Health Care Reform Prompts Surge Of New Walk-in Clinics, Luther Turmelle, New Haven (CT) Register Citizen, 4/3/14)
but hey, they spelled “retail clinics” correctly, so it’s all good
And it will be done very well (hi – def no less!), and hosted by the inestimable, nonpareil health issues journalist Bruce Japsen.
And it features a panel of walk-in clinics industry leaders: MinuteClinic
CEO President Dr. Andrew Sussman, gravel-voiced ASAP Urgent Care CEO Traver Hutchins, Dr. Richard Rothman of the Rothman Clinic, and Dr. Robert Wah, president-elect of the American Medical Association. Must-see walk-in clinics TV!
We enjoyed Robert Lowes’ recent Medscape article on retail clinics (Retail Clinics as a Threat Falling Short of Physician Fears). Lowes allays US physicians’ long-expressed fear that clinics would soon usurp their role in routine non-emergency treatment by pointing to the Center for Studying Health System Change’s new study’s lead finding that just 3% of people in the US have visited a retail clinic in the last year.
CSHSC’s work is ALWAYS worth exploring because, like a box of Christmas chocolates, you never know exactly what you’re going to get – but you’re likely to get a variety of toothsome goodies.
For example, while their evidence that retail clinics’ toehold in health care is still, well, just that, is worth attending to, we found these two charts contained in the report more interesting:
Our hunch is that THESE implacable forces – convenience, price, and limited previous engagement with conventional primary care clinicians – are what will continue to propel the slow, steady establishment of retail clinics’ value proposition.
Sure – because why should 2014 be any different than the last 5 – 10 years?
2014: The Year of the Retail Clinic
(Seriously, we are right there with you, Antoinette!)
Last week, Accenture issued a modest 4-page report on the state of retail clinics, which included a matter-of-fact forecast of growth in the numbers of clinics through 2015: (Retail medical clinics: From Foe to Friend? Why Retail Clinic counts will double in three years and save $800 million dollars per year). Accenture’s analysts anticipate that there will be almost 2,900 retail clinics in operation about two years hence – at the close of 2015.
We wrote almost a year ago about the pretty simple reasons we’re doubtful that Accenture’s forecast will prove accurate. We haven’t seen any evidence that alters our view. We also see nothing in Accenture’s report that indicates its authors reflected on developments in routine non-emergency treatment options that might call their forecast into question. It’s not merely the existence of numerous urgent care clinics and community health centers; the advent and rise of telephysician visit alternatives also softens the ground on which the Accenture growth forecast is constructed. And none of these ways in which consumers may get their routine non-emergency health care jobs done is mentioned in the Accenture report.
The Associated Press story on this report proved remarkably popular. It was picked up by a wide variety of media outlets. Here are just a few who ran a version of the story. We ran out of ambition needed to provide links for all of the stories; they’re mostly all the same, and you get the idea – a broad array of news outlets picked up on the story of Accenture’s retail clinics growth forecast:
The Advisory Board
(The Advisory Board’s Alicia Daugherty also seems mildly skeptical of Accenture’s forecast: “One-hundred percent growth across the next 2.5 years is at the higher end of estimates we’ve seen….”)
Chain Drug Review
Kaiser Health News
News Channel 8 Portland
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury
The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn used the story as a base for riffing on the advent of a new environment for routine non-emergency health care. He does his usual illuminating job anticipating the role that non-traditional resources for routine non-emergency care are likely to play in reshaping health care in the US – but we are a bit concerned that his first paragraph leaves readers with the impression that they will find, or at least that he imagines there is, a Take Care Clinic in every Walgreens, which of course there is not – just as there is not a MinuteClinic in every CVS. Happily, his assessment of the likely future of retail clinics is appropriately hedged around with the kind of clearly-expressed qualifications we wish every prognosticator were perceptive enough to incorporate.
Nice ~14 minute interview conducted by ReachMD nurse practitioner Mimi Secor with The Little Clinic’s Dr. Roger Green (VP Western Division). Good sound quality, and an information-filled brief overview of the state of retail clinics in 2013.
Good start for National Nurses Week!
We’re amazed we have never before image-Googled the phrase “Emergency Room Billboard”. Who hasn’t, after all?
Anyway, a small sampling of the results concludes this post.
Note that, to a signpost, coast-to-coast, the pitch of these billboards is not for “life-saving treatment”, “easy access to hospital services”, or the like.
No, the value proposition on offer is – wait for it – short wait times. For fevers, and “boo-boos”, and other not-really-life-imperiling stuff.
Well, at least they are not pitching their “everyday low prices” for their services. Yet.
You’ll find it on page 4 of Rand’s Research Brief: Flattening the Trajectory of Health Care Spending:
Facilitate High-Value Innovation (Rand, 2012)
Retail clinics: evidence for high value health care (Rand 2012)
(Note that the graph is found, incongruously, under the heading Further Expand Use of Health Information Technology; while HIT does figure in retail clinics’ delivery of high-value health care, it is not principally an HIT “play”)
It’s fair, and important, to note that Rand employs – or maybe it’s merely contracts with – Ateev Mehrotra MD, probably the most authoritative observer/researcher of the retail clinics phenomenon to date. Rand has published a number of Dr. Mehrotra’s studies. What’s most important is that retail clinics ARE embematic of high-value health innovation in the US – and that the chart deftly conveys the evidence for it in a ‘tri-fold’ chart: charts indicating comparable clinical quality bookend a chart indicating retail clinics cost markedly less than treatment source alternatives.