Retail health clinics are banking on the COVID-19 bump

Telehealth wasn’t the only healthcare service to benefit from pandemic-induced lockdowns and restrictions in 2020. Retail health clinics—health centers located in retail stores—have grown in popularity as a convenient way to access simple health services. Usage was likely boosted by chains such as CVS Health, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart distributing COVID-19 vaccinations beginning in February 2021.

Retail health clinics now come in different shapes and sizes, ranging from full-service primary care clinics like Village Medical at Walgreens and office-like HealthHUBs at some CVS stores to tuck-in chairs and folding screens in CVS’ Minute Clinics.

Retailers’ goals are twofold. Adding primary and preventive care services such as treating minor infections and injuries, or providing vaccinations and screenings, could attract regular front-of-store shoppers to the back, where most pharmacies are. (And they might pick up a few more items along the way.) The services may also attract new customers who are looking for convenience or don’t have a regular primary care provider.

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