Limited money, time, and access to medical care are significant problems in the US healthcare segment, but a battle may be emerging amongst medical staff in response to convenient retail clinics, suggests a new report by healthcare experts GBI Research.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) reported that by 2020, the US will face a shortage of 45,000 doctors, and a contrasting 36% population increase in the age group of 65 years and above. This will dramatically increase the disparity between the number of individuals who need care and the number qualified to provide care.
Currently, the average appointment wait time for a US clinic is several weeks, while some in cities such as Boston are booked up for roughly two months. If an individual’s condition worsens, a trip to the emergency room costs around $550. This lack of doctors only looks to get worse as the elderly population grows, and America needs an answer.
Retail clinics are able to offer services to patients at a lower cost, by providing care through a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA) rather than a physician. The retail clinic industry undoubtedly has an effect on primary care providers (PCPs), the physicians, emergency rooms and urgent care. PCPs may be opposed to retail clinics affecting their income, but on the other hand, medical professionals may look positively towards the growth of the retail industry, as it gives them more time to concentrate on complex diseases and illnesses, working fewer shifts treating minor diseases.
PCPs also have the option of entering into collaborations with retail clinics, which benefit both parties. The retail clinic benefits as patients will be more inclined to visit them, and the primary care provider can also benefit in cases where the patient must be referred to a doctor, as the retail clinic would refer the patient to the PCP with whom they have an agreement.
Employing staff for retail clinics can be conceived as a problem, as retail clinics only treat a limited range of illnesses, such as sore throats, acne, cough and flu. This may prove unsatisfying for fully qualified nurses, whose wages also cannot match those of a nursing post at a regular clinic. However, retail clinics are able to offer more flexible work schedules.
NOTES TO EDITORS
*Retail Clinics - 2012 Yearbook
The report provides insights into the US retail clinic market, with coverage of the market landscape, key market trends, market drivers and restraints. It gives market forecasts for the retail clinic industry until 2018, the distribution of retail clinics across the US, the key stakeholders, and their issues. The report additionally provides an in-depth analysis of the competitive landscape, including the benchmarking of top companies, key trends on mergers and acquisitions, and licensing agreements involving retail clinics.
The report is built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by GBI Research’s team of industry experts.
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