Behind Retailers' Healthcare Strategies, Operational Know-How
That is going to evolve over time, but it is going to be important to have these partnerships form because when you start to add up the capabilities, the retailers ability to engage the consumer whether it be a brick-and-mortar or an e-commerce platform, to combine that with the clinical knowledge of urgent care centers and hospitals, we are going to see some interesting innovation occur.
One of the reasons why this is happening now is because of the innovations in healthcare over the years. The ability to treat some diseases in a much more manageable way has opened up the opportunity to provide new ways to deliver care.
There are a lot of examples where at one point, it was a very acute disease that required a highly specialized physician to treat it. But it's now something you can do at home on your own through technology. It is that evolution that is opening up the door to allow new entrants to come in, leveraging what their core capabilities are, which is engaging consumers, brand awareness, providing convenience and trust, and offering that platform to consumers to give them choice, which is ultimately what they want."
HLM: Will we see traditional retail strategies used to attract healthcare consumers? Will the corner pharmacy use free flu shots, for example, as a loss leader to get people in the door?
Connolly: It is certainly possible. It depends upon the core business for the entity. A big retailer or grocery or pharmacy chain has different business models and numbers they work through. Some may be very interested in volume and foot traffic. But we have been struck by the number of entities, [of] the Fortune 50 companies, more than 75% of them identify themselves as being in the healthcare business and they are not hospital or insurance companies.
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