Healthcare is arguably one of the most hotly debated topics in the U.S. This is due, in part, to the wide range of challenges Americans face when attempting to receive care. Insurance coverage, cost, quality, and access are just a few of the major obstacles many face when attempting to seek professional advice on everything from a minor cold to a major chronic illness.
Last year, CVS announced its HealthHUB model as an expansion of its healthcare services in CVS locations. The company ran a trial of three HUBs in Houston, Texas and made the choice to add locations in several other cities around the country after the trial locations exceeded their expectations.
How Is This Different From the MinuteClinic?
The HealthHUB takes the CVS MinuteClinic® model and expands services and treatment options to provide patients with more personalized and integrated care. In addition to conducting screenings, managing chronic illnesses, and offering vaccinations, HealthHUBs will have a variety of supplemental programs, including group counseling with an in-store licensed dietician, yoga classes, and other community events that support whole-body wellness.
HUBs are staffed by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, licensed practical nurses and pharmacists. And all within a CVS store where you buy anything else your heart desires.
But who is most interested in taking advantage of this new CVS approach to health? CivicScience asked more than 5,000 U.S. adults about their interest in this new option and found 33% of U.S. adults are at least somewhat likely to give this service a try. That is a strong showing of support for a program that only launched about a year ago in limited locations.
But how does this impact current behavior? For context, the majority of those who are the most likely to visit a CVS HealthHUB have been to the doctor 1-2 times in the past year. Right off the bat, it’s clear that many individuals interested in this option do not frequent their doctor’s office for much more than perhaps a yearly check-up.
But it isn’t just frequency of visiting a doctor that plays a role. Age may also be a deciding factor in determining who visits a HealthHUB. Adults aged 18-24 as well as those aged 35-54 are the most likely to give the HealthHUBs a try. This suggests that the convenient and accessible model appeals both to those who may be young, healthy, and seeking a quick fix for an illness, as well as those who may be strapped for time and in need of a doctor who can see them when it fits into their busy schedule.
In either case, if 1-2 visits a year is the norm, then individuals may find it more convenient to simply walk into a clinic like the HealthHUB, rather than go through the process of visiting a traditional doctor.
Of course, convenience takes on many forms. And one of the most evident ways CVS seeks to make its HealthHUBs convenient for all is through offering care that is financially accessible.
Prioritizing Low Cost Care
Despite the fact that some who are interested in HealthHUBs report having been to the doctor in the past year, there remains a large subset of those interested in this service who were not able to go to the doctor due to cost. Given the data, it seems that CVS’ commitment to low cost care has made them especially attractive to those who may have struggled to pay for care in the past.
According to the data, 22% of those interested in the HUBs are on government-assisted insurance or have some combination of coverage. This suggests that the HUBs may also be an important option for those who lack the flexibility that private insurance plans often provide. But at the same time, the majority of people interested in HealthHUBs have employer coverage, and those who are not at all likely to try the HUBs show more people on government-assisted healthcare, no insurance at all, or pay for their insurance themselves. It’s possible that those seeking more affordable care aren’t convinced that a HealthHUB will actually be affordable for them.
The New Clinic Destination?
While some may be interested in the HealthHUB for managing an illness, for others, interest may stem from their pre-existing pharmacy of choice. It is no surprise that 42% of those who are already favorable to CVS are likely to visit a HUB. However, Rite Aid shoppers are next in line, with 38% at least somewhat likely to branch out.
Additionally, the fact that 17% of those who do not shop at any drugstores are interested in a HUB suggests that they appeal not just to CVS fans or those who know of a chronic condition in need of management, but to a much wider and more diverse audience.
A Question of Satisfaction
Of course, not everyone is rushing to line up for the next opening of a CVS Health HUB. Those who were the most satisfied with the care they’ve received in the last year are not very likely to visit. However, there is still a large demographic of those satisfied with their care who are curious and interested in this alternative.
Clearly, even satisfaction with one’s current healthcare provider doesn’t rule out trying the HUB. Perhaps due to the HUB’s wide range of services – it’s far more than what a traditional doctor’s office could offer – potential patients see even more reasons to walk in.
It is clear that the desire for this model of affordable, accessible, and convenient care is strong. As it stands, CVS HealthHUBS are poised to shake up the industry, transforming how and where Americans receive the quality healthcare they deserve.