Health Dialog Connections

How More Consumer-Centric Healthcare is Turning Patients into Shoppers

A pharmacist consulting a patient to help improve her health management skills

The shift to the fee-for-value healthcare service delivery has yielded some interesting consumer behavior results. Patients are starting to shop for convenient well-priced quality healthcare. In turn, community-based health centers are flourishing. Several variations of retail health and wellness programs are seemly expanding and popping up in every pharmacy and big-box chain across the country. The question is: are these programs effectively managing patient care and improving clinical outcomes? Results associated with some current retail health programs are yielding optimistic results and show promise for delivering impactful total population healthcare services.

Those thrifty patients with busy lifestyles have an interest in more convenient access to care and are becoming increasingly engaged in their healthcare decisions. Their expressed desire to participate in alternative service offerings is encouraging healthcare providers to partner with retail health companies as a means to increase the number of access points to quality care in community locations and capitalize on engagement opportunities. With technological advances and integrated service delivery methods, these consumer-centric programs are effectively increasing health literacy and medication compliance.

Retail healthcare programs that serve as an extension of physician services and support the overall care and engagement of chronic and poly-chronic individuals have the potential to improve outcomes and reduce costs through the development of more effective self-management tools and regular clinical oversight. For example, the Rite Aid Health Alliance program is operated by a care team consisting of in-location pharmacists who provide medication support and Care Coaches who work with patients on specific wellness goals and behavior changes. A preliminary case studyi shows this program is helping enrolled patients increase medication adherence, lose weight, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar through behavior changes and medication support.

Retail healthcare clinics are not only a convenient point of care, but strong support for physician services at a time when primary and preventive care is evolving. Patient utilization of retail healthcare clinics has nearly tripled in since 2007ii and it is estimated that participation will only increase with individuals seeking this type of healthcare service at a growing rate.

[i] Health Alliance Case Study, Rite Aid, 2015.
[ii] HRI Consumer Survey, PWC, 2013.




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