Retail care may be of lower quality but is here to stay, NEJM Catalyst says

Care offered by retail healthcare facilities may be of a generally lower quality than that seen at traditional hospitals and healthcare operations, but it is here to stay and has also offered multiple benefits, according to survey results from NEJM Catalyst.

More than 70 percent of healthcare leaders globally believe the quality of care in retail settings is lower than in primary care practices, according to the survey, which had 767 respondents, of whom 513 were in the United States. There are also concerns about the ability to track patients in such settings.

But two-thirds of the people surveyed said the pandemic had improved patient views on such retail clinics. The same share of respondents also said such retail outlets had improved the ability of vulnerable populations in particular to gain access to care.

To help adapt to the emergence of retail clinics, traditional healthcare can look at the following areas, the report said:

  • Expand primary care access and new modes of delivering treatment
  • Meet patients where they are — on their smartphone, for example
  • Consider focusing on in-home care
  • Partner and coexist with retail care

Only 15 percent of respondents own or have a formal relationship with retail healthcare outlets, and a further 10 percent said their organization is considering affiliation within the next three years.

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