The Retail Health Clinic Boom

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 27 2011 9:49 AM

Intuitive Research Result Of The Day: People Who Live Near Health Clinics Are More Likely To Visit Them

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Mini health clinics offered by national chain retailer such as CVS and Wal-Mart are a potentially useful way of delivering basic health care to consumers in a convenient and low-cost way. One way or another, they're spreading like wildfire with visits increasing ten-fold from 2007 to 2009. And via Sarah Kliff we see the key charts from a new RAND Corporation study of the trend, reproduced above. The main finding about usage is that people are much more likely to visit a retail health clinic if they live near one!

From a policy perspective, I'm not sure there's much we can do with that. But from a business perspective it makes opening more clinics seem like a no-brainer. The demographic correlates here are pretty blah. Women go slightly more than men, and people with more money go more often with less money, but the main thing keeping people out of retail health clinics seems to simply be that lots of people don't live near one. But if you built it, they will (probably) come. 

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.