Retail healthcare delivery appears to be in line with the rise of consumerism and cost-shifting to individual patients, but it also leads to friction with nearby smaller businesses.
The growth of retail clinics such as MinuteClinic, urgent care sites and other businesses essentially providing healthcare services in residential areas of San Francisco put pressure on other smaller businesses, according to a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The newspaper said that at least 30 such locales have opened up in the city in recent years, with providers continuing to either buy up properties or lease sites for new clinics. That they have larger revenue streams and big corporate parents means they are also able to enter into pricier leases, driving up costs for other businesses in the immediate vicinity.
The rise of healthcare sites in retail spaces serves patients who want more convenience, and likely relieves pressure on hospital emergency rooms as well. However, other experts worry that retail healthcare services could lead to fragmented care.
Other businesses have their own concerns from the growth of such services. “We are losing very valuable retail spaces to businesses that do not allow the general public to walk in,” Traci Teraoka, who owns an antiques shop in Presidio Heights, told the Chronicle. “When the distances become longer between stores you can actually go into, there is a point at which you just keep walking.”