Our sister company, Oliver Wyman, recently released a white paper on the “New Front Door to Health Care” -- namely, telemedicine and retail clinics. We shared their latest survey data on consumer perceptions and use of these newer access points for health care. While employers have incorporated telemedicine and retail clinics into their health benefit offerings and plan designs, it is important to think about how these access points will evolve as the health care delivery system continues to transform itself.
According to OW’s Sam Glick, “This year will usher in a new era of retail health. Retail clinics 2.0 will be different; they will be the hub of the provider network of the future. These clinics will still provide inexpensive urgent care at convenient hours and locations, but they’ll also provide insurance enrollment (like Walmart is doing); care coaching (a la Rite Aid); full primary care (as Walgreens is piloting); a community-health focus (like Target); and whole-health services (like CVS). The retail healthcare experience will be like the best of any other retail experience -- that is, tailored, affordable, and easy. In the coming year we will also see traditional health systems embrace retail care as an extension of their impact, not as a competitor.”
The advantage to employer-sponsored plans and consumers? These access points are more convenient and less costly. They also have the potential to provide coaching and educational support to drive healthy habits.
So what should employers be thinking about to maximize the benefits to themselves and their employees?
More access points means more opportunity to have a positive impact on plan members’ health and health improvement efforts. In the busy world we live in, that’s a good thing!