Lessons Docs Could Learn From Retail Clinics

“Fast, convenient flu shots here” read the poster that caught my eye while strolling briskly from the C to B concourses this morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. I needed a flu shot and certainly wanted it fast and convenient given 40 minutes until my next flight.

“I’m here to give you some business,” I said to the nurse manning the kiosk. To which she replied with a smile, “And I’m here to give you great service. I’ll have you out of here in 4 minutes.”

True to her word, I filled out a very short form, handed over my credit card, rolled up the sleeve, winced at the needle stick and walked away in less than 5 minutes. “Thank you and have a nice flight,” she said.

Before I got to the gate, there was an email message on the iPhone thanking me again for my business and providing an electronic notation for inclusion in my medical record. “Please provide this document to your physician to update your medical record regarding the vaccine you have received.”

It’s ironic that the most difficult part of this whole transaction will be figuring out how to forward the note for the medical record on to my primary care physician. I don’t have an email address for the office. In fact I’ve never received an email – or even snail mail for that matter – from my doctor (well, with the exception of the occasional bill). This is the same office where I couldn’t get in for a flu shot because those are only provided two afternoons a week for patients that aren’t being seen for other reasons.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like my doctor, but would love to send him and all his practice staff off to retail boot camp – just until the light bulb comes on about the customer-centered conveniences and courtesies of the retail model. Until then, I’ll be getting more of my routine health care needs met in the retail clinics.

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