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CONSUMERS: The Blogosphere Debates Convenience Clinics

May 15th, 2007

The spread of convenience clinics—or “McClinics”—has been debated across the health care blogosphere in recent weeks, stemming in part from Wal-Mart’s announcement that it plans to open hundreds in coming years. Yesterday, the subject was the question of the day on the Wall Street Journal’s health blog (sparked by a Journal op-ed by Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, and an Economist article on the topic. In a recent Health Affairs interview (free access for one week), Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen spoke of convenience clinics as an example of an innovation that disrupts the existing system and provides new choices to consumers.  

The Healthcare Economist notes favorably that a recent American Journal of Infection Control article found that in-store clinics are providing flu vaccination for a not-insignificant share of patients, and in addition reminds readers of a year-earlier post on the subject. The Health Care Law Blog has a wealth of links on the subject, including a rather poignant plea from a doctor about the supervision of and referral by nurse-practitioners at the clinics.

Lab Soft News, a blog sponsored by the Pathology Education Consortium and underwritten by a number of medical technology firms, predicts that the Wal-Mart clinics may move into laboratory testing, particularly those tests waived by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, in coming years. Doc or Die, a blog mostly dedicated to medical informatics, believes that Wal-Mart medicine along with the med IT initiative it proposed with other big employers, might eventually lead to “semi-efficient” health care.

And finally, in a slightly more off-the-wall vein, the blog known as Logical Extreme objects to Wal-Mart clinics on the grounds that patients shouldn’t want to go to the doctor in the same building that houses a McDonald’s — as if medical office buildings have never had fast-food restaurants at ground level before.

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1 Response to “CONSUMERS: The Blogosphere Debates Convenience Clinics”

  1. dneunabe Says:

    i doubt that the debate matters much. In the not too distant past, the NY Times ran an article or editorial entitled “WalMart Nation” in reference to the tremendous clout WalMart has as the nations largest employer. Here in Wisconsin, WalMart employees comprise the largest number of enrollees in Medicaid. Despite the fact that the state is essentially subsidizing the health care cost of WalMart employees, the state government has been powerless to stop it. I don’t believe that anyone can stop WalMart from creating thousands or even millions of these clinics of they so choose. And, they’ll probably do it well.

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