Is the doctor’s office heading for extinction?

Survey shows that alternative sites for care are gaining popularity with consumers

When it comes to where Americans prefer to receive their care, retail clinics, virtual health, and community centers are all growing in popularity, according to a survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. These changes reflect patient preferences to have health care be more similar to other consumer retail experiences.

There is a growing desire to use retail clinics, and this is especially true among underserved populations, according to the survey. Only 10% of consumers have used a retail clinic in the past year, but many more say the would be “likely to” or “maybe would” use retail clinics for preventive care (55%) or mental health care (47%). Black, Asian, and Hispanic respondents were more likely than White respondents to use retail clinics, and urban respondents were more likely than rural ones.

Virtual care, which became popular during the worst months of the pandemic, continues to be popular with patients. Nearly three in four consumers with Medicaid (74%) or HIX plans (73%) would use virtual health for mental health visits, and nearly two-thirds of all consumers would use virtual visits for preventive care.

According to the report, health care organizations looking to stay relevant need to take several steps. They should create more access points and include opportunities to address the drivers of health. They need to develop diverse care teams, ensure care continuity, and invest in virtual health technology and training.

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