KEY TAKEAWAY: Office visits to primary care doctors declined 18 percent from 2012 to 2016, even as visits to specialists increased, insurance data analyzed by the Health Care Cost Institute shows . People want healthcare on THEIR terms and disruption has already started at the point of care.
According to a NY Times article “You call the doctor’s office to book an appointment,” said Matt Feit, a 45-year-old screenwriter in Los Angeles who visited an urgent care center eight times last year. “They’re only open Monday through Friday from these hours to those hours, and, generally, they’re not the hours I’m free or I have to take time off from my job.
“I can go just about anytime to urgent care, ” he continued, “and my co-pay is exactly the same as if I went to my primary doctor.”
Indeed. Urgent care clinics are opening up all over the country and consumers of healthcare love them because you don’t need an appointment and many even have MRI or x-ray machines on site for immediate tests.
Immediate care clinics often consumers of health care a lot of advantages, including “walk-in” appointments as well as lower costs. The days of making an appointment to see your doctor may be coming to an end by a disruptive force that recognizes consumer needs.
Are there opportunities for pharma?
In a nutshell, yes. Many have big screen TV’s in the waiting area playing health information for patients as well as a full literature rack. I visited one that provided free Wi-Fi as long as you agreed to view some health information. Pharma could utilize these approaches, but if they think they can just repurpose DTC spots they are sadly mistaken. Pharma has to take an approach of helping patients by providing good, concise information not by selling new drugs with a hard pitch.