Big Jump in Health Clinics at H-E-B

Discussion
Dec 14, 2010

By George Anderson

RediClinic, which currently operates 21 clinics inside H-E-B
locations in Texas, announced plans to open another 20 inside the grocery chain’s
stores.

The clinic operator said eight new facilities would open by the end
of next month, with three in San Antonio operating in affiliation with Methodist
Healthcare System. RediClinic is affiliated with Memorial Hermann Healthcare
System in Houston and St. David’s HealthCare in Austin.

"Our Houston- and Austin-area RediClinics already have served more than
a half-million satisfied patients," said Web Golinkin, RediClinic’s chief
executive officer, in a statement. "We look forward to responding to Texans’
growing need for access to primary and preventive healthcare by increasing
our capacity in Houston and Austin, and by bringing our unique model of accessible
and affordable care to San Antonio residents."

Mr. Golinkin said RediClinic
was ideally positioned in an era when there was a need for healthcare reform.
He said that the company had found ways in recent years to profitably operate
clinics without sacrificing patient care.

Discussion Questions: Does RediClinic’s expansion suggest the code has been
cracked to profitably operate in-store clinics? What do you see as the opportunities
and challenges facing in-store clinics in the immediate years ahead?

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8 Comments on "Big Jump in Health Clinics at H-E-B"


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David Livingston
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

As more people opt into high deductible health insurance, these clinics might be starting to catch on. Problems they faced in the past was that they required payment where as the emergency rooms would treat poor patients without requiring payment.

Many clinics don’t have a real doctor on duty and all they could do is refer patients to doctors and hospitals. Often the prices charged for flu shots and such were higher than what the local free clinics nursing schools, and county health departments offer.

People serious about shopping for the best deals in health care found these clinics were not price competitive. Perhaps now they are getting better and able to be more competitive. Have they cracked the code? I doubt it, but time will tell.

John Lofstock
Guest
John Lofstock
10 years 5 months ago

All retail formats are looking for new hooks to attract customers. With health care costs and co-payments surging and the population living longer, these types of clinics can prove to be a popular destination for local communities if they are operated properly. There has to be a balance of seeking profits and serving lower-income customers, who are more likely to use these clinics for anything more than a flu shot. If these clinics are going to be just a money grab, I doubt customers will generate any sense of loyalty to them.

Roger Saunders
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

As in so many retail categories, quality, convenience, service, and value will prove to be effective.

As RediClinic and other in-store health care providers build on their body of experience, they will be about to clearly demonstrate that they can and do deliver on the quality needed. Grocery and drug stores are ubiquitous, and that convenience factor is certain to appeal to consumers.

The service and the value will be demonstrated, as consumers make use of changing deductibles, scheduling of appointments vs. the walk-in opportunity, access to a quick trip around the corner to the pharmacy, and comparative prices at the clinic vs. the doctors offices.

A potential vulnerable point is getting enough registered health care professionals (primarily nurses with masters degrees) to invest their energies in a career within the clinics, which might not offer the physic reward of working with larger teams of clinicians.

The clinics will continue to ramp up with increased locations.

Liz Crawford
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

I have been surprised that we haven’t seen this news a bit earlier, given the recession and health insurance calamities. I think that profitability in this case may rest in part on the demographics of the retailer and the location. I could imagine that some of these walk-in clinics would be a better bet than using emergency rooms for common ailments.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 5 months ago

In-store clinics will continue to grow, if not boom. They hold a sustainable competitive advantage over comparable services. No matter what the future of healthcare in the U.S. brings, there will be tremendous pressures on cost waged by either health insurers, the government or the people themselves. Doctor’s offices and hospitals simply cannot compete. Pricing will force the acceptance of this alternative.

As states continue to approve the expansion of credentialing for other than physician healthcare professionals, people will become more comfortable being treated by someone other than a doctor for ills that don’t require a high level of medical care.

The in-store clinic is a natural extension of pharmacy and serves the pharmacy and the client very well.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
10 years 5 months ago

For all the reasons discussed, the time is right for walk in clinics at retail. The service and pricing must meet the needs of the local clients, and it appears that this partnership is working.

What is valuable here is the association with local health care providers and access to doctors. The stated goal is primary and preventative health care. Some of the walk-in clinics at retail have been almost an extension of the pharmacy, with limited options to help people on the spot. The ties to the local health community are very important in delivering a more valuable service.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
10 years 5 months ago

At the risk of repeating myself for the umpteenth time in these spaces, the main value of in-store clinics can be saving corporate dollars by requiring all employees to use your clinics as the first source of care and as an ongoing provider and approval center for workers’ compensation claims.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 5 months ago

In-store clinics are a good way to generate traffic, loyalty and deliver a service. Stores must be careful to avoid congestion, negative perceptions and stay on top of privacy and confidentiality. In-store clinics, with the right model, could be the view to the future.

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