Retail clinics poised for dramatic expansion

San Jose, Calif. -- Retail clinics and big-name medical centers are poised for dramatic expansion, according to two well-known speakers at the American Telemedicine Association's annual meeting in San Jose this week.

Smartphones, medical centers of excellence, automated clinical labs and digital medical devices will transform retail-affiliated clinics into global ports of entry to some of the best healthcare in the world at dramatically lower costs to patients, physicians, employers, governments and insurers, according to Ronald L. Hammerle and Jay H. Sanders, M.D.

"Clinic retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Rite Aid are beginning to see major growth opportunities and new business models that actually make economic sense," according to Hammerle, the founder and chairman of Health Resources, Ltd., Tampa.

The next round of growth will electronically link large numbers of clinics, pharmacies and independently owned and operated primary care clinics to a small number of medical centers of excellence, using telemedicine technologies, computer information and proven systems for branding, management and expansion, according to Hammerle.

"Imagine combining the distribution of global retailers, the branding models of companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Marriott and Century 21 and the clinical knowledge of some of the best physicians in the world,” he said. “That's where healthcare is going, regardless of the fate of the Affordable Care Act in the United States."

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