Thursday, June 13, 2013

Just a Minute (Clinic)!

Hard to believe, but we first started covering the "Minute Clinic" phenomenon in the fall of 2005:

"In a little strip mall in San Mateo, California, nestled “between a UPS store and a hair salon” is a new type of doctor’s office ... The office itself is as much coffee shop as medical center: prices for various services and procedures are prominently displayed above a reception desk"

Technically, that story was about QwikHealth, a Minute Clinic fore-runner. But the basic idea was the same: easy access to affordable basic care. We revisited the concept in 2008, when these little beauties started showing up inside Massachusetts "pharmacies and other retailers."

Now, of course, they're ubiquitous, which is both a blessing and a curse: more providers helps meet the increased demand for health care, but it also cuts into more traditional providers' cash-flow. And there's this: "in-store clinics could actually raise overall costs if, by making medical care easier to access, it increased the overall use of services."

Who says more is better?

Actually, it still may be, but then we also need to consider quality of care; that is, is "Dr Nurse" qualified to diagnose and treat what ails ya? It seems safe to presume that for many (most?) common ailments, the answer's probably yes. And for many folks, it may mean the difference between affordable health care and none at all (I'll leave it to the reader to decide if this is a false choice).

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]
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