How Care Delivery in Retail Settings Fits Into the Healthcare Industry

You’ve likely started to see them popping up in your daily life – retail clinics. Suddenly, if you’re sick while grocery shopping, you can pop into a clinic in store and be seen. But you may be wondering exactly what purpose these clinics fill in the healthcare industry. Let’s take a look.

What are retail care settings?

Retail health clinics operate out of grocery stores, pharmacies, and “big box” stores and provide care for simple, acute illnesses, usually by a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. These clinics also offer vaccinations and other preventive care services. Patients are often attracted by the extended evening and weekend hours, shorter wait times, and walk-in availability. Additionally, many patients appreciate that pricing at retail care sites is typically transparent and fixed.

4 Use Cases for Retail Clinics

While there are many reasons a patient may choose to visit a retail clinic, here are four of the more common use cases.

  1. Acute, minor illnesses: Patients experiencing a sore throat, cold and flu symptoms, sinus infections and the like will often visit a retail care setting in much the same way they may otherwise visit an urgent care. This is one of the primary purposes of these clinics, and one they promote most often.
  2. Vaccines: Many people are familiar with the idea of getting their annual flu shot at a retail clinic, but that’s not the only vaccine they have available on hand. They are also able to provide routine vaccinations such as Tdap, and other annual vaccines like the pneumonia and Covid-19 shots.
  3. Minor injuries: Often a patient’s first instinct when they’ve suffered a minor injury is to visit an urgent care or emergency department, but retail clinics can treat these issues as well. From sprains and strains to bug bites and stings, patients will visit their local retail care setting for treatment.
  4. Physicals and screenings: During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, retail care settings became a first choice for Covid-19 testing, often with outdoor testing sites set up for safety and efficiency. Now that the public health emergency has ended, there are still screenings that patients will visit retail clinics for, including tuberculosis testing and sexually transmitted infection screenings.

While they are not at all a substitute for traditional primary care practices or even emergency departments, retail care clinics do serve an important purpose in the healthcare industry by providing convenient care for minor ailments. Primary care practices can embrace the resource that retail clinics are by clearly communicating with their patients when a visit to a retail clinic is appropriate versus when the patient should schedule with their PCP.

Providers can also seek to improve convenience in their practice if they would prefer their patients not use retail clinics. This can look like extending hours, increasing the availability of telehealth, or creating a walk-in clinic. However you plan to increase availability, Henry Schein SolutionsHub is pleased to offer solutions to help, such as medpod for a full telehealth experience.

To learn more or get started visit and talk to one of our Solutions Consultants today.