What “Eyelash Lengthening” At Minute Clinic Has To Do With You

By Tom Schramski, PhD, CMAA

Volume 1 Issue 20, October 27, 2014

unnamedLast month, I received my regular email from Minute Clinic, a division of CVS Pharmacy, and the offer was consultation and prescriptions related to eyelash lengthening.  Not too long ago, I was one of those folks lined up for a flu shot that was only announced by an inexpensive banner flapping in the breeze outside the local pharmacy (today, my primary care program advertises flu shots at their office as a convenience during my annual physical).  The Minute Clinic and similar operations across the US are evidence of the rapid retailing of healthcare.  As a result of this accelerating and disruptive innovation, I can receive treatment for a wide range of issues while I pick up a prescription and a birthday card.  Other options include behavioral healthcare at one of the urgent care centers seemingly accessible on every corner.  You cannot escape it.

The implications for the healthcare entrepreneur, whether a home care provider, pharmacy, behavioral health clinic, or urgent care center are clear – our customers are seeking out those who can make services and products as accessible and affordable as possible given their demanding lifestyle.  If you can add the popular wellness or cosmetic options (like eyelash lengthening), all the better and you will be paid in cash.

Here are a few things to consider as you explore opportunities to diversify within your basic service array:

  • Innovation has its own life and it will build steam in markets that have been resistant to retail approaches like healthcare.  Ergo, there are lots of possibilities for growth that address the accessibility/affordability demand of customers.
  • Increasingly complex needs are being addressed in retail and outpatient settings and this trend will increase.  Healthcare in the Third World has been long practiced with this in mind and we are only coming to our senses in this regard.
  • One-stop approaches that offer related services/products in one location or activity (e.g. subscriptions services) increase the value proposition for the customer.  As a variation, if you can make it easier for customers to obtain services/products from multiple locations you will be viewed as providing exceptional value.  Time trumps money even in subsistence cultures.
  • Wellness is increasingly seen as a core health concern compared to reduction of symptoms and treatment of illness or injury.  Coincidentally, wellness-oriented services/products can be found almost everywhere and, for example, have contributed greatly to the success of independent pharmacies across the US.

We have entered one of the most exciting eras in our history for healthcare entrepreneurs.  We are understandingly concerned about healthcare reform, employer mandates, and managed care.  But in the midst of these challenges lies unknown promise for healthcare businesses to innovate, diversify, and offer their customers extraordinary value.