Like competitors CVS (MinuteClinic) and Walgreens (Take Care Health Systems), Rite Aid sees an opportunity in providing basic medical care in stores to its customers. Unlike its two larger rivals, which operate in-store clinics staffed by nurse practitioners, Rite Aid has chosen to go the virtual route with online clinics that allow customers to meet privately via video, chat or phone.
The drugstore chain first began working with NowClinic in September 2011, operating clinics in nine of its Detroit-area stores. Last week it announced it was opening an additional 58 NowClinics in the Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets.
"Given the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, we believe that telehealth services, such as our NowClinic Online Care service, will play an extremely important role in healthcare of the future," said Robert Thompson, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid, in a statement.
"Rite Aid's NowClinic Online Care services provide customers with convenient, affordable and efficient access to medical care, whenever and wherever they need it. We are excited to bring NowClinic Online Care services to our customers in these markets as part of our continued mission to help them live healthier, happier lives."
The drugstore chain's customers can also get help wherever they can get to a computer by going to www.myNowClinic.com/RiteAid. Speaking with a nurse is complimentary while a consultation with a doctor costs $45 for 10 minutes. One drawback to NowClinic is that the service does not submit bills to insurance companies for payment.
How comfortable do you think most consumers will be going online for medical treatment of common ailments?