How Retail Healthcare Will Change After COVID

September 15, 2021

COVID has had an incredibly large impact on the world, stopping us in our tracks and restarting many parts of society in new ways. The retail healthcare industry is one great example of how COVID can change the direction of an entire sector.

What is retail healthcare and why is it important?

Retail healthcare is a term that’s used to describe healthcare clinics that exist in retail stores. For example, if you’re shopping in Walmart or Costco and you see a healthcare clinic, that’s an example of retail healthcare.

Retail healthcare clinics provide a wide variety of health services, including:

  • Vaccinations
  • Physical examinations
  • Treatments for minor injuries
  • Support for colds and cases of flu
  • Smoking cessation
  • Other treatments that don’t require expensive equipment to administer

The retail healthcare industry pre-pandemic 

The retail healthcare industry was already growing before the pandemic began. 

Major players began entering the space in 2019 when Walmart opened its first Walmart Health Center. CVS created an expansion plan for its HealthHubs around that time, and Amazon piloted a retail healthcare program for its employees in Seattle.

The importance of the retail healthcare industry

Most experts anticipate that the retail healthcare industry will continue growing due to the convenience and accessibility that these clinics offer.

If a consumer needs to visit the doctor’s office for a vaccination or treatment for a minor injury, they have a few options. One is to make a special trip to a traditional healthcare clinic. Another is to simply see the doctor at the retail healthcare clinic where they already do their shopping.

Some patients in rural locations may need to drive a very long way to see a doctor. However, they may have a retail shopping center considerably closer to home. This level of accessibility is one of the reasons why we can expect retail healthcare to continue to grow in the future. 

How can we expect retail healthcare to change post-COVID? 

Telemedicine will become more of a priority

Virtual healthcare is becoming increasingly popular. The number of consumers that use telemedicine jumped from 15% in 2019 to 28% by April 2020. What’s more, 80% of these consumers said they were likely to have another virtual visit with a doctor.

This data suggests that not only are more people giving telemedicine a try but that those who do so are keen to continue using it.

Providing support for health monitoring technologies will become more important

Data from Deloitte shows that consumers are using wearable technologies for health monitoring more often in the post-pandemic world. 

Deloitte also found that these consumers are more willing to share data from wearable health technologies than they were in the past. This trend suggests that patient data collected through wearable devices will likely become an increasingly important part of an individual’s healthcare in the future. 

Retail healthcare clinics that embrace this trend by offering support for health monitoring technologies may begin to stand out. And once that happens, providing this type of support may even become an essential part of operating a retail healthcare clinic.

Patients will expect an increasingly digitized healthcare experience

Data collected by Globe Street found that just 16% of patients believe paper signage is valuable in the healthcare process.

The implications of this are clear: the vast majority of consumers want — and expect — to use technology throughout their healthcare experience.

However, only 21% of retail healthcare providers currently use digital communication tools to interact with their patients. This data shows that retail clinics aren’t quite there yet when it comes to embracing healthcare technology — even though most patients seem to prefer it over traditional methods of communication.

Pharmacies and retail health care clinics will merge closer together

The retail healthcare industry is growing primarily because of how convenient it is for patients to visit these clinics. That means we should expect to see retail health providers continue working to make their facilities as convenient for their patients as possible.

One of the most obvious ways to do this is by bringing together the pharmacy and retail healthcare clinic within a store. Shopping centers that do this will provide their patients with an even easier healthcare experience.

This type of focus on convenience is likely going to become more and more popular in the post-COVID world. That’s why it can be a smart idea to get a head start thinking about how you’re going to make your retail healthcare clinic more convenient for your patients.

Digital signage will become more widespread

Digital signage — and its myriad benefits — are likely to become an even greater part of retail healthcare clinics in a post-COVID world. Not only does digital signage offer an increased level of convenience by allowing patients to check themselves into your facility, but it can also be utilized for both healthcare education and marketing purposes.  

This is not only great for consumers but also good for your bottom line. Adding digital check-in kiosks to your facility can give your administrative staff more time to focus on other tasks. 

Additionally, you can easily cycle through multiple displays on your digital signage screens. For example, you might dedicate one screen to advertising your new mobile app. Then you could use the next screen to inform your patient population about the latest healthcare trends in your community.

It’s this type of versatility and functionality that makes it highly likely that digital signage will become more widespread in retail healthcare facilities in the future.

Top tips for adapting to the post-pandemic retail healthcare industry 

COVID had an undeniable impact on the retail healthcare industry. Clinics that want to thrive in the post-pandemic world will likely need to adapt their services to reflect the impact of COVID-19. Here are three key ways to do just that:

Invest in technology

If there’s one trend to watch for retail healthcare in the post-pandemic era, it’s the influx of new technologies. 

We talked about how much patients value telemedicine and digitized healthcare services in the previous section — that makes now the perfect time for your retail healthcare clinic to invest in the technologies of tomorrow.

What does it look like to invest in technology for my retail healthcare clinic?

First, it likely means building out a strong telemedicine capability, in addition to creating digital methods for your patients to fill out forms, share information and stay in contact with their doctors.

Combined with effective digital signage, you can increase patient engagement in a post-pandemic world in which technology continues to play a greater role in community healthcare. 

Focus on building relationships

Deloitte runs a survey that polls the preferences of U.S. healthcare consumers. In 2020, they found that the top factors patients cited in a positive healthcare experience were almost all about the quality of their interactions with their doctor.

Patients talked about how much they value:

  • Doctors that listen to them
  • Doctors that don’t rush
  • Doctors that utilize clear methods of communication

If you combine these factors, it becomes clear that what patients value is a strong relationship with their physician. That’s why your retail healthcare clinic may want to focus on creating real relationships with its patients.

You can do this by encouraging your doctors and medical staff to:

  • Express empathy
  • Practice active listening during patient visits
  • Personalize their communication
  • Mirror their patients’ body language and style of communication
  • Make time to answer questions

Embrace a patient-centric approach

The COVID pandemic forced many healthcare providers to quickly digitize their services. This provided patients with a level of convenience that they’ve come to expect from their treatment.

That means part of adapting to a post-COVID world may be to continue to offer whatever methods of patient convenience you were forced to adapt during the pandemic. This could mean continuing to make telemedicine a priority or expanding digital communication channels to keep your patients in contact with their healthcare providers.

As we move into the future, retail healthcare clinics that embrace a patient-centric approach are likely to excel as convenience and accessibility continue to be top priorities for consumers.

Prepare your retail healthcare clinic for the future with UPshow

Digital signage is an easy way to get your retail healthcare clinic set up for the post-pandemic world. You can use it to make your patients’ experiences more enjoyable and convenient thanks to its capability to help with:

  • Creating digital kiosks so your patients can check themselves in
  • Keeping your patients informed about the latest healthcare news
  • Entertaining your patients while they sit in your waiting area
  • Educating patients about common illnesses, symptoms, and health tips
  • Advertising new features and services that you offer
  • And so much more

If you’d like to add digital signage to your healthcare clinic, UPshow has you covered. Our digital signage software is a convenient all-in-one solution that will let you hit the ground running with your digital signage strategy as quickly as possible.

Want to learn more? Schedule a free custom demo with us today.

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