The promise of one-stop, total healthcare was supposed to be led by retailers like Wal*Mart and CVS, but they’re finding out it costs a lot of money to equip and market these facilities. Patients still want convenience in their healthcare, but it may take decades to materialize.
One of the biggest complaints about healthcare is that it’s too fragmented. Patients need to wait days for blood work results and make appointments, often weeks out, for MRIs or CART scans.
Some retailers were aware of the lack of convenience and time in an age when instant gratification takes too long, so they would test a healthcare facility that had everything from a lab to MRI and CAT scan machines. Some one-stop facilities also have additional specialists for patient consultations. So what’s holding them back?
First, it costs a lot of capital to equip these facilities. MRI and CAT scan machines can run seven figures. Second, patients want their doctors. They don’t want to see a different physician every time they have a health issue. Finally, the marketing of these one-stop health facilities will be challenging. How do you communicate the benefit of having everything in one place and an excellent healthcare experience?
For retailers like CVS, the concept of one-stop healthcare clinics offers a view into the future of retail drug chains. In addition to providing primary healthcare, they can offer the benefits of their pharmacy and healthcare products, increasing the profitability of each location.
For DTC marketers, a one-stop healthcare clinic offers a range of options to reach patients when they are in the mode to choose treatments, but it means a shift away from “selling” to “educating” and “informing.” Imagine a patient who has a high A1C being given literature on the dangers of diabetes or diabetes medications that help lower A1C.
The current way American healthcare operates is unsustainable. It costs too much and is too profitable for too many players. It will evolve most likely be forced by change. Those business CEOs who can see the future and convince their shareholders to invest in a new type of healthcare will be the winners. Most companies would love to be a part of such a fantastic turn of events, yet this kind of transformation doesn’t happen very often.
A single person with a clear conscience and a willingness to speak up can make a difference. Contributing to the greater good is a deep and fundamental human need. When a leader, even a mid-level or lower-level leader, skillfully brings a voice and a vision, others will follow, and surprising things can happen—even culture change on a large scale before it’s forced upon the industry.