HOUSTON – In an attempt to turn their stores into “health service hubs,” the two largest pharmacy chains in the U.S. (Walgreens and CVS) are remodeling stores to resemble doctors’ offices. According to an Associated Press article by M. Spencer Green, CVS opened three such concept stores in Houston late last year.
Called HealthHUBs, the stores “dedicate much less space to typical drugstore products like greeting cards and seasonal items. Instead, these stores offer more health products like sleep apnea masks and devote space to services aimed at helping customers manage chronic conditions.”
In addition to the sleep apnea masks, walkers are also sold at the redesigned stores. “CVS’ walk-in clinics, MinuteClinics, now offer more services, including a lab for blood testing and health screenings,” writes Green. “Nurse practitioners can screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, or vision loss associated with diabetes, as well as sleep apnea. The HealthHUBs also include a dietitian who can counsel patients in stores or connect them with Noom, an online weight-loss service.”
Even grocery powerhouse Kroger is reportedly pursuing the health care market. According to Bloomberg (via Beckers Hospital Review) Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said: “Healthcare is an area where we see a lot of opportunity. We’re talking to several potential partners at the moment.”
Bloomberg reports that Kroger has already “partnered with pharmacy Walgreens for a pilot program that allows customers to order groceries online and pick them up at Walgreens locations. Kroger also operates a specialty pharmacy business that posted strong sales in 2018.”
Threats from big box stores and Amazon (in addition to CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger) are familiar to many providers, and Medtrade Spring is a great place to learn about new ways to compete. See medtrade.com for more on Medtrade Spring, scheduled for April 16-18, 2019, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.