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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Walmart Healthcare

Are these things safe? What about continuity of care? If this becomes a large spread phenomena how does it affect physician income?

Despite the questions I'm actually not appalled; time will tell and these clinics should at least be given a chance.
"This cost and convenience trend is coming to a head and that's what is driving this trend. My prediction is that it will move quite rapidly," said Matt Eyring, managing director of Innosight, a Watertown, Massachusetts, consulting firm.

The business model is simple -- a medical clinic operated by an outside company, and generally staffed by nurses or physician assistants, offers a limited range of basic tests and treatments at a lower cost than a doctor's office.


Blogger Lisa said...

*Shrug.* Haven't we been here before, with "doc in a box" medical clinics in downtown storefronts? At least in my area, there are none of those left, so perhaps it isn't such a great business...If they're planning on doing a cash-only business maybe they would do better.

While I have a "regular" doctor I have to say I really appreciate the fact that the local hospital has an urgent care clinic for times when someone in my family is sick -- it's uncanny how microbes and sharp objects know when doctors' office hours are closed, and this is about 8,000 times better than going to the emergency room. Of course, those doctors are affiliated with the hospital, not short-term freelancers.

One thing that would be of interest to me is whether or not they would get many patients who are uninsured. One thing that I find frustrating even though I am insured is the complete lack of transparency in pricing. It's impossible to find out how much anything costs -- if I get a bill by accident, it's undoubtedly 2X or more what an insurer would pay, which in turn is not what my doctor receives in compensation.

A cash-only discount clinic might be attractive to a patient who's on a tight budget and doesn't want to go into a doctor's office where nobody -- including the staff -- can tell him or her what the bill will end up being. Plus, the price will be the same for everybody.

10:09 PM  

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