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Zoom+ opens 32nd clinic, amid surge for on-demand, retail healthcare

New clinic, located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, is now the seventh run by the company in the Washington city.

Henry Powderly, Editor-in-Chief

Image via <a href="">Facebook</a>.Image via Facebook.

West Coast retail clinic operator Zoom+ on Monday opened its 32nd facility, as the provider of on-demand healthcare continues to grow amid surging interest in retail healthcare.

The new clinic in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle is now the seventh run by the company in the Washington city.

Zoom+ touts its model for primary care as "no-wait," giving patients tools such as mobile apps for scheduling visits. To be fair, the clinic does average six minutes wait time, but that is far below traditional primary care. Zoom+ clinics are also open seven days a week and are staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They can also fill prescriptions on site, as well as administer vaccines and some laboratory tests.

The growth in retail clinic business is just one example of how the primary care market is transforming, as patients take on more responsibility for payment. Much like any other retail service, the healthcare consumer not only wants good care, but they also want convenient service.

[Also: Zoom+ clinic operator adds gynecology, dermatology to services]

In addition to Zoom+, which is smaller in size and located primarily in the Pacific Northwest, pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens are investing heavily in their primary care clinic businesses, which offer a far more on-demand, retail-like experience for patients in need of check-ups and sick visits.

In fact, a recent survey from Pricewaterhouse Coopers Health Research Institute, found 80 percent of consumers are open to non-traditional settings and care models. Researchers surveyed 25 executives from healthcare, trade associations or education, as well 1,500 clinicians and 1,000 consumers for that report.

Since opening its first MinuteClinic in 2006, CVS now runs more than 1,000 outposts and recently announced plans to buy the pharmacy business from big-box retailer Target.

"Diabetic patients are inside of a CVS pharmacy six to eight times per month," said Nancy Gagliano, MD, senior vice president of CVS Health and chief medical officer of CVS/minuteclinics, in the PwC report. "But they typically only see their primary care provider once a quarter."

[Also: Zoom+ clinic model adds its own insurance option]

The survey found 36 percent of respondents said they have visited a retail health clinic for  conditions such as earaches, sore throats, and even chronic disease management, even though they have a primary care physician.

Part of the change is being driven by patient's reluctance to suffer the traditional pitfalls of primary care treatment including long wait times, difficulty in getting appointments and travel times. The report claimed wait times for a primary care appointment average nearly 20 days.

What's interesting about Zoom+ is the company is also an insurer, building programs that marry wellness and health tracking with traditional medical coverage.

Zoom+ also leverages telehealth to give its members and patients access to care through video chats.

The company was started in 2006, and operates clinics in Washington and Oregon.

Twitter: @HenryPowderly

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