MINNEAPOLIS — Longer eyelashes and a slimmer waistline are just some of the draws increasing traffic to in-store clinics after cold and flu season and during other cyclical lulls.
Target Clinic here recently branched beyond its core set of minor illness treatments, vaccinations and wellness screenings to provide $49 cosmetic prescription consultations to lengthen eyelashes, eliminate unwanted facial hair and lighten freckles, age spots and other skin discolorations.
Visits that lead to prescriptions for Latisse, Vaniqa and Lustra — the brand names for the drugs addressing these issues, respectively — are likewise offered at H.E. Butt Grocery, San Antonio, through 29 leased-space RediClinics.
While cosmetic services are highly targeted and therefore may not lead to a huge jump in visits, they’re just one example of services helping to steady volatile sales cycles, noted Tom Charland, chief executive officer of retail clinic consultancy firm Merchant Medicine, Shoreview, Minn.
“The reason clinics are expanding their services is because they have a seasonality issue,” he said. “In the off-season they don’t see anywhere near as many patients and they lose money so that’s why they need to find other services.”
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Clinically-based weight loss programs show particular promise since Americans think about dropping pounds just as the busy winter months of cold and flu season wind down, noted Charland.
“I like this kind of service because it’s not seasonal, yet it’s complementary since people want to start losing weight as they look forward to summer,” he said.
RediClinics have found success with Weigh Forward — a medically supervised program for lifelong weight management. The 10-week program capitalizes on RediClinic’s nurse practitioners and grocery-store location with counseling on diet/nutrition, behavior modification and weekly meal plans with shopping lists of items that can be purchased in H-E-B stores. Participants pay $449 out-of-pocket for the service.
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The Little Clinic, which operates in 80 Kroger, Fry’s and King Soopers stores in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia and Colorado, recently began administering something new: corticosteroid injections for inflammatory conditions such as poison ivy. Phenergan injections for nausea relief and Toradol, a non-narcotic pain reliever for moderate to severe pain, are also new to its list of services, Charland said.
A diversification of treatments and other options will help retail clinics survive stagnant sales periods until 32 million uninsured Americans seek additional access points for care under the Affordable Care Act, according to Charland.
“The new healthcare environment will ultimately solve the seasonality issue for retail clinics, but until then, it will involve adding services like these,” he said.