CHICAGO, Nov. 12, 2015 – New research by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) forecasts that the number of retail health clinics will exceed 2,800 by 2017, rising 47 percent since 2014. Walk-in retail clinics, located in pharmacies, retail chains and supermarkets, will add capacity for 25 million patient visits in 2017, up from 16 million in 2014, according to Accenture’s analysis.
“Retail clinics are shifting to a clinical focus with more sophisticated services for consumers who want walk-in convenience for their basic health needs,” said Kristin Ficery, managing director of health consulting, Accenture. “This shift provides a release valve for strained health systems, as they prioritize more critical patient cases, and will give consumers another option for addressing their healthcare needs on their own terms.”
Accenture estimates that the number of retail clinics will reach 2,150 by the end of this year and roughly 2,400 in 2016, amid signs of increasing profitability and industry resurgence. Accenture predicts 14 percent growth annually through 2017 – a total increase of 47 percent over 2014 levels when 1,914 retail clinics existed.
Despite the surge in projected growth of retail health clinics, an Accenture survey of 1,000 U.S. doctors found that the clinics could meet some resistance. More than two in five respondents (41 percent) said they are comfortable with patients using a retail clinic for preventative care, such as vaccinations, but not services of a more clinical focus, including primary care (17 percent) or the management of chronic conditions (16 percent), such as diabetes.
“As more retail clinics shift from cost centers to profit centers, they will be better able to deliver stand-alone profits with greater certainty, so the implications for retailers and healthcare value chain players will be significant,” Ficery said.
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