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future evolution, reform, retail clinics, scope of services



  1. Kaissi, Amer PhD


Recent estimates put the total number of retail clinics at more than 1000 nationwide. Some forecasts estimate that explosive growth will continue in the future, whereas others suggest that the retail clinic boom might be ending. This article assesses the retail clinic trend and explores its future viability in the volatile health care environment. Eight administrative and clinical leaders in 7 health systems that are affiliated with or own retail clinics were asked specific questions about the future evolution of retail clinics. Respondents offered mixed opinions about the future of retail clinics, and most were skeptical about their growth potential. Some of the respondents believed that health care reform will be supportive of retail clinics, but there was uncertainty about the specific effects of expansion in insurance coverage. Respondents reacted differently to the prospect of retail clinics expanding their scope of practice to include chronic conditions. Some of them welcomed the trend, but the majority was critical of it for various reasons. At this turning point for the health care system, it is not clear whether retail clinics will represent a significant value proposition for the system or whether they are a fad that will soon pass and disappear.