Retail Clinics, the More Sensible Approach

Instead of seeing retail based clinics as a threat to one’s practice, perhaps we ought to focus on finding ways to rethink our value proposition and embrace change.

It is easy to get bent-out-of-shape about retail clinics opening up near one’s office. But it seems to me, that getting upset, writing letters to people and defending the status-quo will solve little. A constructive approach is to consider what makes one’s private practice uniquely different from a retail clinic and find ways to leverage those items in our practices.

In addition to asking the AAP for more support, pediatrician’s should also look for ways to add value in different ways to patient’s parents by asking ourselves, what value do we add that MinuteClinic does not? If the only value we can come up with is that the pediatrician went to school longer than an NP, therefore a pediatrician take better care of children… then you’ve failed. Because that alone is not going to be enough to persuade people regardless if it is true or not.

Nobody will argue against a pediatrician’s years of training when compared to a nurse practitioner’s years of training, but from a parent’s perspective, it is hard to convince them our private practice’s value proposition is better when patients are walking out the door with the exact physical exam, Rx and instructions as they would had gotten had they gone to a MinuteClinic.

Few of our patients have gone to MinuteClinics, but from time to time, they do. And when they do, we give the parents a call and ask them how little “Timmy” is doing and ask if he’s feeling better, if there is anything we could do to help, etc. We also ask, discreetly, the reason they went to the MinuteClinic instead of giving us a call.

This approach allows us understand why they choose MinuteClinic instead of us. And if we hear the same answer over and over, well guess what? We know what we need to change.

Don’t you think this is a more sensible approach?

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