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BI In Retail-Based Clinics

Distributing patient point-of-care away from large hospitals is a growing trend many countries. Today, health clinics are found in large retailers, retail malls, corporate office locations, schools, community centres and sports & fitness centres. Whilst this model delivers significant benefits, it is not without risk. For this reason, retail based clinics require a greater diversity of business intelligence applications.


Forces Driving Retail-Based Clinic Growth

There are a number of forces driving retail health care:

  • Changes in patient perception of health provider - from employer provided, insurance paid health treatment from hospitals and large medical practice groups, to more complex health plans and increased responsibility for costs. This is forcing competition among healthcare providers to provide healthcare delivery points closer to the patient.
  • Changes in retail models – clustering of service and support businesses around large retail stores to generate additional foot traffic in high-margin product lines associated with the hosted business.
  • Change in payment models – as consumers are accepting more responsibility for payment of their own health treatments, cost is more visible and convenience a much stronger consideration. Health reimbursement accounts, health savings accounts, high-deductible plans and a higher potential denial rate for covered services, are all driving new business and payment models.

These drivers are spurning opportunity for health providers to deliver healthcare closer to patient populations and do it more cost-effectively. This is not without challenge, and it is in overcoming these challenges that Business intelligence is being employed.


BI Needs in Retail Clinics

Health clinics require:

  • Clinical decision support
  • Clinical guidelines at the point of care
  • Clinical quality measurement and compliance
  • Patient Information Management
  • Claims Management


Benefits of Business Intelligence in Health Clinics

The key areas that benefit from BI applications include:

Demand Management – whilst a major health service provider may have control over the flow of patients, clinics in retail locations are exposed to changes in local traffic resulting from unusual events such as epidemics. Resource and capacity planning is can be quite volatile, leading to overloading in waiting areas and excessive waiting times.

Growth Strategy - demographic profiles must be aligned with resource profiles. Many retail clinics have been set up based on younger, convenience seekers. If this demographic changes to older population sections, facilities may become inappropriate.

Cross-Sell - Retailers are ruthless in getting return on investment on every square foot with sub-tenants competing for space. This may lead to poor clinic practices, with pressure to create sales for co-located pharmacies, health foods, and grocery items. Medical workers placed under pressure impacts their professional clinical judgment. It is imperative that any ‘unhealthy’ trends be detected early, so that value to all parties is maintained in a healthy balance.

Understanding Consumer Behaviour – Consumers can be equally as ruthless about the products and services they buy. Lack of treatment follow up may miss patients who have not made follow up appointments as requested. The clinic must know whether this is due to lack of care on the part of the clinic or patient, or whether treatment has been sought elsewhere. Analysis of consumer buying patterns is critical for complete end to end healthcare management.

Service Development and Quality – as the number of clinics increase, so does competition. This drives reduced revenue from price cuts and increased costs from engaging specialized staff and equipment. Balancing the positive health benefits with detrimental business benefits may be at the expense of service or quality. Data and process flow is extremely important to monitoring and analysing quality.

Operational Management – staffing cultures are different in retail locations, with some staff feeling isolated from peer groups and lack of support from specialists. This can lead to abnormally low staff satisfaction and consequently high turnover. Monitoring for staffing patterns and trends in satisfaction rates is necessary.

Public Health Reporting - disease and infection control are important both for the clinic and the main store. Regulatory requirements must be tracked and monitored to ensure constant vigilance to any danger zones.

Retail-based clinics aim to bring healthcare closer to the market in a cost-effective manner. To ensure the clinic survives both operationally and financially, data must be used to make evidence-based decisions. Active use of business intelligence ensures that clinics make the best use of data for clinical, business and financial success.

Next: Medical Tourism


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