On Sale at Walgreens: Physicals

Discussion
Jul 30, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Proponents of in-store clinics have always pointed to lower
medical costs as one of the benefits of the facilities. Now, operators of the
clinics are looking to educate the public to these benefits with sales (not
something you’re likely to see at your doctor’s office) on student physicals
as they get ready to go back to school.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times,
Walgreens’ Take Care Clinics are offering physicals for $35, 40 percent below
the normal $60 price. If families bring in more than one kid, the price drops
to $30 per student. The deal runs through Sept. 30.

A check of the MinuteClinic
site, operating inside CVS stores, found the current price of camp, school
and sports physicals listed at $35 also. DOT physicals were $84.

Discussion Questions: Will "sales" of medical visits such as physicals
for schools attract large numbers of new consumers to in-store clinics? Do you
think price will become an even more important element than convenience in the
marketing of in-store medical services?

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12 Comments on "On Sale at Walgreens: Physicals"


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Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
10 years 9 months ago

I think this will have a number of determining factors: age, race, geodemographic, proximity, access to alternative (real) doctors or medical facilities, perception of quality of service, etc.

Not sure I would partake.

Max Goldberg
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Sales on the price of back-to-school physicals are a great way to get consumers to try in-store clinics. Students must have physicals and consumers are trying to save money. It will be interesting to see if consumers then return to the clinics for other health-related matters throughout the year.

Alison Chaltas
Guest
Alison Chaltas
10 years 9 months ago

What a terrific idea to tie in Walgreens’ healthcare position with the important promotional back-to-school season! The proof of success will be how many of the students’ families shop the seasonal BTS aisle while waiting for their physicals.

David Livingston
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

This has been going on for a few years now. It’s kind of like offering a flu shot. Am I out of touch, or aren’t these services offered for free or minimal charge at the local county health departments? When I was in school we just lined up in our shorts, turned our head and coughed, and then were given the green light to participate in sports by a 90 year old retired physician. I don’t recall every paying anyone to get my kids a physical. It was always part of the sports fee at school.

I think trying to sell a service that consumers can get for a lower cost or free will not drive much traffic.

David Zahn
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Absolutely, the price factor will drive business to the clinics. A portion of the families sending kids back to school (or to camp, or anywhere else where a physical is needed) do not have a “family physician.” And with a segment of the population in the U.S. still not having sufficient healthcare, the opportunity to save costs will definitely drive business to the clinics.

I do have a gnawing feeling that the level of POTENTIAL care between a physician and a nurse practitioner is different; and that in the greater percentage of cases, it will not matter much (if at all)–but I guess I have been convinced by the rhetoric of the doctors that my health is best left to the care of a physician for the “just in case” scenarios.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
10 years 9 months ago

Price and convenience is the key, certainly for back-to-school mandatory shots and sport physicals. The argument from physicians is they are less thorough, but if you have ever taken a kid for a back-to-school physical, you realize it’s not true.

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
10 years 9 months ago

I believe in-store clinics are an absolutely PERFECT fit for drug stores for all the obvious reasons–one-stop shopping, synergy between trip mission and services offered by clinics, ability to cross-promote, etc. With this economy and out of control healthcare costs,I think price is a huge factor and is causing many folks to skip their regular doctor’s appointments and find the value at one of these clinics to be great. With promotions like this, they will draw even more customers.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

School physicals are seen as a necessary evil. Make it easy and cheap and they will come. Once you have them as a patient and if you have gone beyond the norm in customer service (like not making them wait) you will most likely get them back, at least for the routine stuff.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
10 years 9 months ago

Given the explosive growth and continuing uncertainty about medical costs and availability, my sense is that more and more of the simpler medical procedures will be absorbed by the retail industry. We’re already seeing flu shots, minor cuts and scrapes, and now school physicals being done by health-related retailers. My sense is that this will continue to grow.

Roger Saunders
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Great move on Walgreens’ part. This retail leader recognizes and deals with the various issues surrounding healthcare everyday, including the shifting patterns of costs–i.e. higher deductibles, decreased co-pays, changing healthcare plans, etc.

They also clearly know their customer base. Based on the July, 2010 Consumer Intention & Actions (CIA) database, Walgreens mirrors the U.S. population in most demographic categories; race, education, and age. Their core shopper is a bit more likely to be female, and when it comes to having children under 18 in the household, Walgreens indexes at 113 vs. the general population for 6 to 9 year olds, and 101 for 10 – 12 year olds — prime candidates for these back-to-school physicals that are offered at a bargain.

Roy White
Guest
Roy White
10 years 9 months ago

Very accessible, low-cost medical care is what in-store clinics are all about, and to provide specials on something as basic as a student physical fits right in with the model. In-store clinics will take time to build, but the are the right retail offering at the right time, as accessibility to doctors is time-consuming and expensive, as well as difficult to set up in any timely way.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

This is not something new and we should not look at it as now revolutionary. The demographics of the area (yes, I know. The area is every street corner.) will determine if they advertise, camp, school or flu shots as the prime draw. There is a CVS and Walgreens (surprise!) close to where I live. The demographics of the area is old. Camp and school physicals are not big draws. Flu shots bring them in during the fall season. I wonder what the draw is other times because I rarely see enough cars to keep the lights on. It goes to show how profitable the legal drug business is.

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