By KIM BELLARD
Within a mile from my home in one direction, there are two pharmacies and a primary care office. In another direction, there’s a multi-specialty physician practice, complete with lab and pharmacy. And in a third direction, an urgent care center. Widen the circle another mile, and there are more physician offices, a plethora of other health care professionals, another urgent care, a retail clinic, and an imaging center. Add a couple more miles and hospitals – plural – to start show up.
I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
Admittedly, not everyone has so many options. If you live in a rural area or a disadvantaged neighborhood, there may not be so many choices. Chances are, though, even in those places, whenever you find retail activity, some portion of it is probably healthcare-related.
Retail clinics helped blur the lines between retail and healthcare, and early moves by retail giants like Walmart or Kroger to incorporate first pharmacy, then primary care, into their stores made getting care easier for millions. All in all, probably a good thing.
Still, though, you know when you’ve gone from shopping for home goods or groceries to getting your healthcare. You know because there’s more waiting. You know because there are more forms to fill out. You know because you don’t know what will happen to you.
And you definitely know when you are getting health care services. You get an injection, you take a pill, you have an image taken, your body is invaded by a tube or a scalpel. That’s why we go, isn’t it? We go because we fear something may be wrong and we want someone to do something about it. Advising us to make lifestyle changes is all well and good, although usually not effective; we want some concrete treatment.Continue reading…