Retail clinics and their inevitable growth

How will this further harm our health care system?

RHCs self-consciously limit themselves to simple treatments for acute illnesses (e.g. treatment for colds, the flu, allergies, minor burns, ear infections, etc), and simple treatments are quick treatments. It’s tough to screw up taking someone’s temperature, even if you do it quickly, right?

That may be the case””for now. But like any good enterprise, retail clinics need to compete and expand their market share. That means that the current scope of simple, relatively hard-to-screw-up services will inevitably be expanded in the future, as clinics scramble to distinguish themselves in the marketplace. Wanless notes that as more RHCs open, “the competition will keep upping the ante in terms of services offered and the prices charged.”

I’ve said it before and my stance hasn’t changed. In their zeal for speed, convenience, and profit, someone will screw up.

A “bronchitis” will actually be a PE. Chest pain caused by an “anxiety attack” will be an MI. The inevitable malpractice suits against a retail clinic will no-doubt put a damper on things. Bet on it.

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