FastCare: More Than a Retail Clinic
Healthcare delivery channels are in a state of rapid change with new and altered channels emerging constantly. Established healthcare systems, like University Hospitals (UH), must rapidly align and deploy their delivery channels and organizational structures to anticipate and meet the shifting demands of the market. Further, the high cost of unnecessary emergency room visits continues to cause strain on the overall healthcare system. Implementation of lower cost care models will continue to be an important component of addressing that issue. To aid in meeting the evolving market and more appropriately align healthcare delivery with patient needs, UH entered into the retail clinic environment through an agreement with Giant Eagle, Northeastern Ohio's largest grocery retailer. Over the last three years, UH has opened FastCare clinics in four Giant Eagle stores in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland.
The FastCare clinic model has brought new challenges for UH. The challenges include delivering care outside of its established locations, strong reliance on nurse practitioners with remote physician support, limited service offerings, and complexity with third-party payers.
Further complicating the business model is the reliance on host store management to coordinate location, signage and in-store marketing presence along with competing service offerings, such as vaccines. As a result of the limited geographies and number of FastCare locations, UH allocations to market FastCare, create internal and external awareness and alignment in addition to management attention required to assure integration has been restricted. The challenges have resulted in multiple barriers to the success of FastCare; specifically, barriers to awareness, access and integration. As of this time, the barriers result in UH not realizing the anticipated value from its FastCare locations.
While challenges remain, realizing a higher level of value from FastCare is not out of the reach for UH. UH is a patient- and community-centric healthcare system. By focusing on those strengths and integrating FastCare into the UH System to create that patient-centered experience, UH has an opportunity to leverage its mission statement – To Heal, To Teach, To Discover – to deliver a new care model in the communities it serves. Embedded with the features important to patients, such as physician presence, wellness, education and a warm and welcoming environment, our solution enables UH to build healthier communities. If successfully implemented, the solution will increase awareness with existing shoppers, patients and influencers being of FastCare and the services provided. Services at FastCare will be improved with easier physical access, clearer directional signage and less confusion on the part of patients. Patients treated at FastCare will be more readily integrated into the UH system increasing the likelihood of return visits to FastCare or other UH physicians and facilities.