J.D. Power: Number of patients seeking health, wellness services at pharmacies on the rise

The number of people seeking care in a retail setting continues to grow, a new survey shows.

J.D. Power released its 2021 U.S. Pharmacy Study on Wednesday, where it found that 51% of customers at retail pharmacies used health and wellness services in the past year.

By comparison, 48% said the same in 2020's report and 43% said they used such services in 2019, J.D. Power said.

James Beem, managing director of healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power, told Fierce Healthcare that while the healthcare industry as a whole saw a boost in consumer perception due to the pandemic, the tides were already shifting in the retail space.

"It's really around cost, convenience and there's a perception of quality now that's new," he said. "I think the models are starting to evolve to be more clinically driven, and any time that's the case, the consumers put their trust in the quality and clinical guidance."

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The study also found that customers who used such services rated their pharmacies more highly and spent more money. Patients who used health and wellness services on average spent $5 more at their pharmacy compared to patients who did not, J.D. Power.

Satisfaction scores and Net Promoter Scores also increased notably when patients used health and wellness services, according to the report.

In addition to seeking services at pharmacies, a growing number of customers are also embracing digital channels for engaging with retail healthcare services, according to the study. J.D. Power found that 26% of brick-and-mortar customers and 27% of mail-order customers had accessed their pharmacy's app.

In addition, user satisfaction with pharmacy apps is greater than member satisfaction with health plan apps, J.D. Power said.

Beem noted pharmacy services are a strong fit for these platforms. For example, it's simple enough for a customer to understand and adapt to text reminders for prescription refills.

"It's far and away the leader when it comes to digital in our J.D. Power portfolio," Beem said.