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Research

Retail and Urgent Care Clinic Strategy

Retail and urgent care clinic strategy

Convenient care is becoming an increasingly important part of the medical group’s facility footprint and playing a greater role in its strategy to expand access.

Read 10 insights for medical group executives considering building convenient care facilities.

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Our top insights on building convenient care facilities

1. Consider operating your own retail or urgent care clinics.
2. Don’t build convenient care clinics purely for the referral volumes.
3. Urgent care clinics are a dependable investment for most medical groups.
4. Use urgent care to target service gaps in the market.
5. Don’t forget about new patients.
6. Flex traditional primary care and convenient care staff to strengthen referral networks.
7. Pair or co-locate urgent care clinics with nearby primary care sites.
8. Staff convenient care clinics with specially recruited staff.
9. Carefully message convenient care to PCPs.
10. Leverage urgent care clinics.


Consider operating your own retail or urgent care clinics

In a typical convenient care partnership between a corporate retail operator and a medical group, the medical group supplies medical directors to oversee care, but the corporate partner handles the finances and business operations of the clinic. Increasingly, though, progressive groups are learning to operate, staff, and finance their own affiliated retail clinics.

The independence does not come risk‑free, but it does have three major benefits:

Curtailed competition
Medical group-owned sites can choose to handle only basic acute cases; more complex cases are referred directly to an affiliated primary care site, which helps bring new patients into the system.

Confirmed data compatibility
Groups use their own electronic medical record in the clinic, guaranteeing seamless information exchange between convenient care sites and the rest of the network.

Captured referrals
Free from an operating partner’s legal constraints, the clinics can refer patients preferentially to the group’s own providers, ensuring not only more comprehensive care management but a more predictable stream of volumes into the network.

Direct management also has its downsides. The provider group assumes full financial risk for the investment, competing operators with greater experience running this business model may open clinics nearby, and the project has limited scalability.

Medical groups who partner with a corporate operator to manage convenient care clinics have told us that they do this because they want to have a foothold in the local convenient care space without taking on the financial risk and operational burden of operating clinics on their own.

Medical groups who choose to neither build nor partner see separate convenient care clinics as a stopgap measure and want to focus efforts on building advanced access within their traditional primary care facilities.

Pros and cons of different retail strategies

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