As retailers expand health offerings, cross-organizational coordination is key and liability concerns remain
NEW YORK, May 11, 2016 — As increasingly more retailers consider expanding health and wellness offerings to meet growing consumer demand, 32 percent of respondents to a recent Deloitte poll say coordination across organizations poses the biggest hurdle to collaboration between retailers, payers, and providers.
“Since retailers’ health and wellness offerings range from patient education programs in retail pharmacies to physician assistant or nurse practitioner appointments in retail clinics, regulatory and compliance implications are unique to each organization,” said Matthew Hourin, retail-health convergence leader and Deloitte Advisory principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Good coordination between retailers and providers can offer a lot of upside for patients, but not every retailer is equipped to manage the risks and costs involved with entering the highly regulated health care provider space.”
Deloitte poll results show that retailers face a number of risks when entering or expanding in a market as complex and highly regulated as health care. Forty percent of retailers reported that the largest downside of becoming more involved in health and wellness is the potential for increased liability.
“Retailers who provide health care services need to navigate tough federal and state regulations spanning scope-of-practice, patient privacy, lab testing, lack of government reimbursement for certain services, complex payment systems, medical product disposal, and more,” said Steve Burrill, national health care providers marketplace leader and Deloitte Advisory partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “Compliance will be notably more difficult for retailers who don’t have the experience or resources in-house to efficiently and successfully solve for the complexities of the US health care system.”
Other challenges to retail health and wellness cross-industry coordination include different financial incentives (27.7 percent), lack of trust and historical silos (17.5 percent), and technological barriers (8.3 percent).
More than half of poll respondents (53.8 percent) have already used a retail health clinic or a walk-in clinic located in a store or pharmacy to treat an uncomplicated minor illness or for a preventative service, and one-quarter (25.2 percent) would consider doing so.
“As retailers get a better foothold helping health care providers defray the cost of care, many patients are already turning to retailers for quick care of small issues, for healthier lifestyle suggestions, and for support of chronic diseases like diabetes,” said David Betts, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “If patients can improve quality of life while running normal errands, it just seems logical for retailers to help drive behavior that creates and maintains health.”
About the Deloitte online poll
More than 1,360 professionals responded to poll questions during a Feb. 16, 2016 webcast, titled “Retail health and wellness: How two converging industries are impacting care and outcomes.” Poll respondents work in sectors including health care provider (12.6 percent) and retailers or distributors (4.8 percent).