South Florida Hospital News
Sunday April 11, 2021

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March 2021 - Volume 17 - Issue 9

Medical and Retail 2021

The year 2020 saw quite a few notable mergers and launches across the healthcare industry. One of the biggest shifts was the rate at which retailers entered the healthcare market or expanded their existing healthcare offerings. In the coming year, healthcare will continue to act as a safe harbor for retailers looking to right the ship in tumultuous seas. This ongoing intersection between industries could play out many different ways.

First Testing, Soon Vaccinating
One way retailers forayed into healthcare in 2020 was by offering services specific to the COVID-19 outbreak itself. Companies like Target, Walgreens and CVS opened up their locations as free testing sites for the virus. CVS alone administered six million tests between March and September. Providing vaccinations is also a way to encourage customers to come back to stores and could help win over some new shoppers—but only if retailers provide a seamless experience without ‘long lines and chaos’.
Medical Malls on the Rise
Minute clinics, pharmacies and mini health centers have become mainstays at big box stores over the years. But in 2021, healthcare services will take over retail real estate at an even higher rate. Retail sites are ideal for redevelopment since they typically have adequate utilities, parking and entitlements (zoning) for hospital and health care users. Many of these spaces will hold reimagined medtail (medical + retail) spaces, such as “super clinics”, “micro-hospitals” and other specialty care.
Expanding Contactless Healthcare
Limiting human contact was the theme of 2020. Curbside pickup, grocery delivery and contactless payment were a few of the ways retailers provided safe transactions for their customers. We may see a wave of new partnerships to enable contactless healthcare flows, or new contactless healthcare technologies developed by large retailers. Recently, CVS signed a contract with PayPal and later became the first national retailer to offer contactless Venmo and PayPal technology at checkout registers. It is likely that more retailers will partner with care providers or expand their own offerings to facilitate contactless healthcare delivery.
Not Every Venture Will be Successful
While retailers like Walmart have seen success from its healthcare expansions, others have not been as successful. In 2021, a safe prediction is that there will be more missteps from big retailers trying to get a piece of the healthcare market. Two to watch may be “Google Health” and Amazon HealthLake.

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