The Doctor Will See You Now — In Aisle 5

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Supermarkets are becoming an increasingly popular health care destination. Find out why.

Supermarkets are among retailers partnering with local health professionals to add health care to their offerings, the Food Marketing Institute reported today.

“Grocery stores today are hiring more and more health professionals and developing in-store health centers to meet the growing demand from shoppers for ‘retail healthcare,'” according to the institute, which is an advocate for the food retail industry.

The institute’s 2014 Retail Contributions to Health and Wellness survey of food retailers found that:

  • 95 percent work with local hospitals or health care networks.
  • 95 percent employ dietitians at the corporate, regional and store levels.
  • 70 percent have in-store clinics in at least some stores — up from 40 percent in 2013.
  • More than half work with health insurance companies and local gyms.
  • Nearly one-third work with culinary schools.

Among supermarkets with pharmacies, 90 percent offer flu shots among other immunizations, as well as health screenings.

Wal-Mart’s product-development chief, Alex Hurd, says the big-box company — which already has some stores that include pharmacies and eyeglass services — intends to become one of the leading sellers of affordable health services, reports.

The Food Marketing Institute says retail clinics and other in-store health care services benefit supermarkets by helping them become one-stop shops.

Pharmacy Times says retail clinics also benefit consumers by helping them reduce costs, while also increasing convenience:

“Staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants and located within pharmacies and supermarkets, the number of retail clinics in the health care market has exploded since their introduction in 2000. Despite criticisms, an ever-increasing number of people head to retail clinics for their low cost and convenience, with visits quadrupling between 2007 and 2009, according to a 2012 study published by the RAND Corporaton. Retail clinics provide a viable alternative for acute care at cost-effective prices, and they deliver inexpensive preventive health and wellness services—the primary reason for retail clinic visits.”

Have you tried a supermarket-based clinic? Would you? Share you thoughts in a comment below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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