More than three-fourths of Americans willing to receive at least one medical or wellness service from retail establishments or remotely; 36% of consumers interested in receiving care for minor episodes at a drugstore, 20% at a grocery store: survey

NEW YORK , May 21, 2014 (press release) – A large majority of U.S. consumers would like to receive medical and wellness services from retail establishments such as grocery stores and pharmacies or remotely according to a new survey conducted by the Health & Life Sciences practice group of Oliver Wyman.

In the national survey of more than 2,000 consumers, 77 percent were willing to receive at least one medical or wellness service from retail establishments or remotely. Consumers expressed a wide range of opinion on what specific kinds of medical or wellness services they want to receive in which locations.

Key findings of the study include:

Among the 77 percent of consumers willing to receive treatment at a retail establishment, 32 percent were interested only if there was a partnership with a local healthcare provider, and 16 percent were interested only in wellness services such as advice on diet and nutrition.
Fifteen percent of consumers said they had used a retail clinic, while nearly twice as many, or one-third of consumers said they were unfamiliar with the concept of a retail clinic. Consumers are even less familiar with remote care via phone or Internet, with 57 percent saying they were unfamiliar with the idea and only 8 percent saying they had used remote care services.
Urgent-care clinics (that is, free-standing clinics not located in another business establishment) have clearly established themselves in the public mind. Almost two-thirds of consumers would use them for treatment of minor health episodes, and smaller, but still substantial numbers are interested in using them for physical exams, chronic disease counseling, advice on diet and wellness, and other services.

Retail clinics do not yet have the appeal of urgent care facilities, but there are pockets of strong interest. Notably, 36 percent of consumers are interested in receiving care for minor episodes at a drugstore and 20 percent at a grocery store. And when considering new healthcare services, consumers view urgent-care and retail establishments more evenly—30 percent of consumers were interested in receiving advice on diet and nutrition from an urgent care center; the corresponding numbers for drugstores and groceries were 35 percent and 22 percent.

“Alternative care locations are extremely important,” explains Chris Bernene, a partner in Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences practice and one of the authors of the study. “If we’re ever to reduce the cost of healthcare in this country, a large share of routine care needs to move to lower-cost channels and locations. We know that alternative care sites are capable of delivering good quality combined with a new level of convenience. But will consumers accept it? I think our survey shows consumers are generally moving in the right direction, though there isn’t yet a consensus on what kinds of treatments consumers prefer in retail environments.”

The results of the survey are available here.

About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 50+ cities across 25 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm's 3,000 professionals help clients optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE:MMC). For more information, visit Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @OliverWyman.

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