In the healthcare sector, the primary focus needs to be on the consumer i.e. the patient who visits a doctor with the trust and hope of being cured. But, with mega-mergers becoming common in the healthcare sector, the equation between the patient and doctor has changed drastically.
Health Care Cost Institute reveals that visits to primary care doctors have declined by 18% from 2012 to 2016, though visits to specialists have increased. It’s true that pressure on traditional doctors or primary care doctors is mounting up with mergers like CVS-Aetna and Walmart-Humana. Doctors keep facing new forms of competition. Companies far related to healthcare are stepping in and changing the patient-doctor equation. Recently, Apple opened clinics to treat its employees. While some companies give the option to its workers to seek medical care through cell phones.
People have started visiting retail clinics and urgent care centers in shopping malls even for simple healthcare needs that are catered by health professionals at cheaper rates as compared to doctors. Around 12,000 centers have been opened across USA as per the study conducted by Merchant Medicine. Many believe that health professionals might not consider the history of a patient and prescribe unnecessary medicines. Infact, frequent visits to such centers may lead to higher healthcare expenses.
According to a traditional doctor, Dr. Purifoy there needs to be a continuity in care; it takes efforts and time to win the trust of patients, which cannot be developed at retail centers. This trust relationship is not instant, it builds up slowly.
But its best to leave the decision to the patients, which option to choose?