With the Advent of In-Store Clinics, is Whole Health Finally Coming of Age?
By Laura Klepacki, Special to GMDC
When AOL founder Steve Case plunks his millions into a business concept, the market tends to take notice. After all, Case’s forerunner Internet service for the masses helped popularize the use of email that forever changed the way the world communicates.
So will Case’s development of RediClinic impact how Americans connect to their health in unprecedented ways as well? Already, the company is operating 11 units in stores including H-E-B in Texas and Duane Reade in New York. It has inked a deal to open 16 units with Walgreens in the Atlanta market. By 2009 it intends to have 500 units up and running. The point is to make health and wellness accessible and affordable by staffing with nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, keeping doctors focused on the more serious ailments.
Of course, Case is not a lone ranger. He just emerged as the most visible spokesperson on the topic. In July, CVS acquired current market leader MinuteClinic boasting 83 units in 10 states, three-quarters of which are located in CVS stores. There are others too, such as instaClinic that will make its debut in four Schnuck supermarkets in St. Louis this fall.
The concept of whole health has been circulating for at least ten years now. Will these centers really push Americans to turn their attention from disease management to wellness and prevention?
Supermarket operators, meanwhile, believe they are best positioned to keep America strong – with one-stop shops offering foods, nutritional supplements and very often prescriptions that can be pulled together and marketed in one tight wellness program.
The pharmacy staff at K-V-A-T is being educated on healthy food products and industry initiatives such as the produce Five-a-Day and the dairy Three-a-Day programs. On top of that, 40 pharmacists have been certified to administer injections for its flu vaccination program this fall.
At Bashas, pharmacists participate in in-store clinic programs such as ‘medicine cabinet checks’ where shoppers bring in their old prescription bottles for evaluation. The pharmacy also holds events with packaged food manufacturers including Kellogg and Con Agra.
Discussion Question: How healthy an idea is the in-store
clinic? How “whole” do retailer health and wellness initiatives need to be?
Financially, will these departments be self-supporting? Will the expectation
of increased cross-department shopping come true and be the real key to success?