The Retail Environment Challenge to Healthcare Keeps Growing

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Expectations about the convenience of healthcare are changing, exemplified by the embrace of healthcare within a retail environment. The New York Times reported in 2018 that people are now flocking to clinics and urgent care centers located in strip malls or shopping centers. Some 12,000 are already scattered across the country in these kinds of more accessible locations. At the same time, office visits to primary care doctors declined 18 percent from 2012 to 2016, even as visits to specialists increased (Abelson & Creswell, 2018).

Convenience and Availability Are Big Issues

Patients are more interested in appointment hours that work better with a working schedule, including evenings and weekends. Another development with larger implications involves the merger of retail drugstore chains like CVS with insurance providers like Aetna. The impact on provider networks, advertising, etc. could be significant. In addition, much of healthcare is waiting to see what Amazon and other big players in the digital economy may do to disrupt the traditional ways that healthcare is provided, supplied, and scheduled.


Abelson, R., and Creswell, J., “The Disappearing Doctor: How Mega-Mergers Are Changing the Business of Medical Care,” April 7, 2018, The New York Times, Retrieved at

This blog post is an excerpt from the longer HealthStream article, Trends That Will Shape the Next Decade in Healthcare. Focused on the people providing healthcare, HealthStream is committed to helping customers address and solve big problems in our industry. From hospitals to long-term care and across the care continuum, there are challenges stemming from demographic changes, governmental mandates, and the need for higher care quality. Download the webinar, Ten Healthcare Trends for 2020, where Robin Rose, Vice President, Healthcare Resources Group, HealthStream discusses this information in detail. HealthStream is dedicated to improving patient outcomes through the development of healthcare organizations' greatest asset: their people. Learn more about our healthcare workforce development solutions.