Tuesday, December 05, 2006

In the GME, it's about time

FT.com / Business Life - Pioneers of retail therapy:

"When a truck arrives to deliver a new CheckUps clinic, its contents have been packed so that they can be unloaded in a precise order for assembly. The walls come first, with finished interiors in rich cherry and maple woods. All the wiring is pre-installed. Laboratory equipment, including an X-ray machine, is rolled out, followed by the finishing touches of furniture, computers, medical supplies, doors and decorations.

It takes the company only about nine days from being granted building permission to transform a 800 sq ft space inside the retailer into a low-cost, walk-in medical clinic.

A nurse can then begin to see customers for minor illnesses such as sore throats or preventive measures such as vaccines. Clinics offer routine healthcare with prices of between $30-$50 a visit – significantly less than patients would pay to see a doctor.

Such clinics are not only appearing in supermarkets. Companies such as RediClinic are now setting up operations in city-centre drugstores across the US.

Operators hope that as well as delivering care, their well-appointed clinics will send customers an important message: access to healthcare can be inexpensive, but it does not have to look cheap.

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