CVS Health has been busy over the last few months. The American retail pharmacy and health care company is expected to close a merger with Aetna Inc, a Hartford-based insurance company. A few more state approvals are needed, but once acquired, the CVS and Aetna merger should commence with synergy goals of over $750 million over the next two years. Before this merger intention was made public, CVS announced plans to increase the number of clinical services offered in its “MinuteClinic” locations. These additional services vary from simple Asthma treatment, to urgent care services, to telehealth offerings. Could this pose a threat to hospitals? Let’s find out.
CVS MinuteClinic Takes on the Healthcare Market
CVS is clearly taking an aggressive approach to the healthcare market. While its expansion portfolio includes simple growth in basic healthcare services, CVS is also posing a massive threat to hospitals with a focus on urgent care. The difference between hospital urgent care systems and CVS MinuteClinics, is that hospitals have more effective x-rays for broken bones, and they can offer intravenous fluids and phlebotomy services. Bernie Kuhn, the principle and chief financial officer of a major retail healthcare consulting firm, says this of the potential urgent care threat to hospitals: “If CVS expands the MinuteClinic scope of services into urgent care…by adding x-ray and suturing, this would place a great deal of pressure on the urgent care industry.”
MinuteClinic Urgent Care Expansion
The big question right now is, will CVS choose to follow through with this urgent care expansion? It seems inevitable as of now. The market for chains of accessible urgent care in established locations is practically empty. In partnership with UnitedHealth Group’s MedExpress urgent care unit, Walgreens Boots Alliance has already opened up 15 urgent care centers within their stores. Although it is a pilot program, do not be surprised to see the number of these centers increase exponentially over the next few years. In 2014, hospitals represented 37% of urgent care centers. This proportion will only decline with the shift of MinuteClinic’s urgent care focus.
What is Telehealth and how does that affect Hospitals?
CVS’s MinuteClinic also poses threats to hospitals outside of urgent care. Survey responses indicate that now more than ever, healthcare consumers are valuing ease of access, extended hours, and walk-ins. MinuteClinic has the advantage over hospitals in all of these areas. What if consumers value ease of access to the extent they’d prefer to not leave their home? That’s where MinuteClinic’s new “Telehealth” factors in.
In August 2018, CVS Health’s MinuteClinic launched a telehealth offering for patients suffering minor illnesses, injuries, and other various wellness-related problems. Now, patients may receive medical attention through video, rather than walking in to a CVS for a MinuteClinic diagnostic appointment. The system allows board-certified health care providers to review a patient’s medical history and a completed questionnaire, in order to perform a CVS diagnostic test. After the video-enabled visit, the provider may determine an appropriate course of action: a prescribed treatment or an in-person follow up appointment. Currently, one MinuteClinic video appointment costs $59.
Even though there is no urgent care feature, the telehealth healthcare offering still poses a threat to hospitals. The simplicity factor and ease of staying home will undoubtedly attract a wider audience of potential patients who wouldn’t normally head to even a MinuteClinic to diagnose a minor illness. This means the number of potentially serious health threats diagnosed will rise in the CVS health system. Many of these potential health threats are uncovered when patients are at hospitals for urgent care; the majority of screened discrepancies are not even related to their initial reason for urgent care. In effect, hospitals will lose patients and the ability to treat them, to MinuteClinic’s telehealth system, and CVS itself.
Phlebotomists working for CVS?
Regardless of which establishments win the urgent care battle, one thing is certain: there will always be demand for phlebotomists. Have you considered training for the NCPT Phlebotomy exam? Think about enrolling in PhlebotomyU to further your skills. The education center is based in San Diego, and offers different class schedules that work for all agendas. Here, you can accomplish your goal of obtaining a CA Phlebotomy License. The Advanced Phlebotomy for CPT1 License Course is arranged for students seeking the CPT1 License, who already have at least 1040 hours of phlebotomy work experience.