The Future

The Future

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6355-8.ch010
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Abstract

In this chapter, the author evaluates the convenient care models on convenience, costs, access, and quality. The models studied receive high scores on convenience, costs, and quality when compared to hospital emergency rooms and primary care physician offices, despite issues related to possible fragmentation of care. However, improving access to care, especially among uninsured and underserved populations, does not seem to be an advantage offered by convenient care. The author posits that the American healthcare system appears to be at a tipping point, with rising consumerism, demands for price and quality transparency, and regulatory forces that are forcing providers to focus on value over quantity. He envisages that the race between hospital systems under legislative pressures and giant retailers spotting strategic opportunities will accelerate innovations and enable convenient care models to move from the margins to become the mainstream way of providing preventative services, treating minor conditions, and managing some chronic conditions.
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Retail clinics are the most critical intersection between healthcare delivery and a retail-like experience. Healthcare has been long overdue in embracing a retail-like approach in terms of convenience and access to patients. We're beyond the stage where it might be a fad, a trend; it's a proven and established healthcare delivery model that is here to stay, and should be considered as part of hospitals' larger entry point strategy. — Matt Montgomery, Senior Vice President -Healthcare Division, Buxton (in Rodak, 2012)

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1. Effects Of On Convenience, Cost, Quality, And Access

While urgent care centers and worksite clinics have been around for a long time, other innovations such as retail clinics, online services and house-call services have just emerged in the last decade. Therefore, the scientific evidence relating to their convenience, quality of care outcomes, costs of care, and access to services is scarce at best. However, as we reviewed in Chapters 5-8, research findings seem to point in some general directions. When assessing that research, the main frame of reference is comparisons with hospital emergency rooms and primary care physician offices (Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1.
Convenience, quality, cost and access grades for convenient care models in comparison to hospital emergency rooms
ConvenienceQualityCostAccess
Urgent Care CentersAAAB+
Retail ClinicsA+A+A+B
Worksite ClinicsA+A+A+B
Online & Other servicesA+I*A+A

*Given the lack of evidence, we chose to give an “I” Incomplete Grade

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