PHARMACY

Dialing up telehealth

BY DSN STAFF

Another critical lever in the drive to lower costs and expand access to quality care is the telehealth model.

“Average telehealth costs are $40 to $50 compared to $136 to $176 for a related in-person visit, while the most common diagnoses made during telehealth visits are sinusitis, cold, flu, pertussis and urinary tract infections,” according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation April 2015 report, “Building a culture of health: The value proposition.”

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

In July, the HealthSpot telehealth station went live in 25 Rite Aid stores in Ohio, in the Akron/Canton, Cleveland and Dayton/Springfield markets.

In December 2014, Walgreens and MDLive first introduced their joint telehealth venture, initially launching in California and Michigan. According to Forbes, the two plan to have the service available in 25 states by the end of the year.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?
PHARMACY

Consumers visit retail clinics for convenience

BY DSN STAFF

Long before payers, large insurers and health systems got on board, consumers were already voting for retail clinics “with their feet,” as patient visits steadily climbed over the years. According to research conducted by Rand Corp., retail clinic traffic doubled each year between 2007 and 2009, to 6 million patient visits a year. Since then, the number has risen to more than 10.5 million in 2014 and rising, according to various estimates.

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

And there is a good reason for that. Patients by and large genuinely liked the experience. As early as 2008, customer satisfaction rates were extremely high right out of the gates, with consumers reporting a high rate of satisfaction with both the convenience (93%) and quality of care (90%) they received in retail clinics, according to a Wall Street Journal online/Harris Interactive poll conducted that year. Industry leader MinuteClinic, which counts more than 25 million patient visits since its first retail clinic location opened in 2000, reports customer satisfaction ratings of 95%.

Initially, “sick visits” (cold, flu, etc.) and vaccinations drove the bulk of these visits, but according to new research, as clinics have been able to expand their scope of services, the reasons patients use clinics also has expanded. According to recent data from Kalorama, while vaccinations (74%) and cold-flu (55%) were still the dominant drivers of patient visits, nearly one-third of consumers (32%) said they actually visited a retail clinic for a prescription renewal.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?
PHARMACY

Cost, quality and transparency drive insurer, health system interest

BY DSN STAFF

There are very logical reasons that a growing number of health systems, large payers and insurers continue to embrace the retail clinic model: cost and quality.

(Click here to view the full Category Review.)

According to a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, there are currently more than 100 partnerships between retail clinics and health systems. “Some delivery systems seeking to improve primary care access and manage total cost of care are using retail clinics to reduce unnecessary emergency department visits. One study estimated that up to 27% of ED visits could be handled appropriately at retail clinics and urgent care centers, offering cost savings of $4.4 billion per year,” noted the April 2015 RWJF study, “Building a culture of health: The value proposition of retail clinics.”

“The cost of providing care for commercially insured patients has been found to be significantly lower when care was initiated at retail clinics ($110) than when it was initiated in physician offices ($166), urgent care centers ($156) and EDs ($570),” according to the RWJF report. “Studies have also found that for five common conditions treated at retail clinics — pharyngitis, otitis media, acute sinusitis, conjunctivitis and urinary tract infections — cost savings of $50 to $55 per episode could be realized and that cost of care for consumers who visited a retail clinic on aggregate was $262 less than those who did not.”

Retail clinics also are starting to emerge in new patient care models like the Accountable Care Organization and Patient-Centered Medical Home models. “BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota has created an ‘aligned incentive’ ACO program that now accounts for 40% of its network spend. They have developed an ACO-like product with Allina Health Network and have ‘wrapped’ AHN’s network with other providers, including retail clinics,” according to the RWJF study.

It’s not just all about dollars and cents. The other critical reason that payers and providers are aligning with retail clinics is simply that the quality of care delivered at retail clinics is as good or better than most other practice settings. Retail clinics had almost 93% compliance with quality measures for appropriate testing of children with pharyngitis versus the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) average of less than 75%, according to the Convenient Care Association.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?