Thursday, November 10, 2011

Health Care Moves Into Retail Spaces

The biggest, best, brightest opportunities for innovation and growth are right here, in front of us, and we often can’t see them or don’t act upon them.

Erich Joachimsthaler, Hidden in Plain Sight, Harvard Business School Press, 2007

November 10, 2011 - In his book, Erich Joachimsthaler, founder and CEO of Vivaldi Partners, a strategy, innovation, and marketing consulting firm, argues that the obvious is in plain sight.

The Obvious ?

We are a consumer-driven nation. To grow your organization , therefore, you study consumer habits. You go where the consumers are. You cater to them. You save them money. You offer convenience, low cost, and quality. Individual consumers are in plain sight in places where they congregate. And you learn for every problem in the economy, there is an opportunity.

This Week's News in Retail Health Care

Which brings me to this week's health care news.

• Walmart says it wants to become the nation’s biggest primary care provider by “dramatically lowering the cost of healthcare.” It plans to expand its number of retail clinics from 140 to perhaps 400 by leasing space to hospitals and physicians (CVS now has 500 minute clinics and Walgreens operates 355 Take Care Clinics).

• The Mayo Clinic announced it will open a Wellness Center at the Mall of America. Mayo wants to personally engage patients and establish the Mayo brand. Its new location will be part health and wellness experience, part retail store. Mayo forecasts future health care will not be limited to doctors’ offices and hospitals. It will include access to convenient lower cost care in other places. Mayo is experimenting with retail health care (Mayo Clinic style).

• Blue Shield of California opened an insurance store inside a Lucky Supermarket in San Francisco. The California Blues join othr Blues organizations opening retail stores, including BCBS of Florida, Highmark BCBS of Pittsburgh, BCBS of Sourth Carolina, and Humana. Why? Because the number of employers offering insurance dropped from 69% to 60% in 2010 across the nation in response to health reform, and because 14 million unemployed have opened the market for individual policies, best be sold individually.

Reaching Out One-on-One

Hospitals, physicians, and health plans are reaching out to consumers on a one-to-one basis. Health care is going from wholesale – selling to groups – to retail – selling to individuals. There is no better place to meet masses Of individual health care consumers than in grocery stores, pharmacies, mails, and other retail spaces. Health care organizations are shining their light in different places and different spaces.

These different places and spaces include,

• Retail clinics in grocery stores, pharmacies, and other retail outlets, particularly in malls.

• New locations in abandoned retail spaces.

• Big MACCS (Multispecialty Ambulatory Care Centers) in retail centers, often at highway intersections in rural and suburban locations.

• New hospital and physician sites in suburban malls, medical malls, and big box building owned jointly by hospitals and doctors and realtors.

• Urgicenters, walk-in, and specialty clinics in convenient retail settings.

• Exercise and fitness centers for younger and older folks in urban, suburban, and retirement places.

Making Sense in a Bad Economy

This makes sense. Because of the bad economy, vacancy rates in rural spaces are approaching 10%, and nearly 30% in new retail developments. Now is a good time to move into malls. Spaces are empty. Foot traffic is heavy. Food and drugs are a necessity. Remodeling costs are modest. Parking is ample. Gas prices are high.

People are looking for ambulatory convenient care 24 hours a day and for one-stop shopping.

None of this has gone unnoticed by Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens, nor by hospitals, doctors, or health plans. Join the crowds. That is where the future lies.

Tweet: Health care now takes place in retail spaces. That’s where crowds of individual health care consumers now seek low cost, convenient care.

2 comments:

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