How Convenient Are They?
As wait times grow longer and open appointments grow scarcer at traditional doctors’ offices, the average consumer lacks the time, money, and composure to visit a physician. The latest development in the retail world—the “convenient care clinic”— has stores and pharmacies looking to capitalize on the newly developing need for alternative health care services.
Convenient care clinics, or CCCs, are retail clinics located within stores, including popular chains such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target, that offer treatment for minor illnesses. These walk-in clinics are rapidly growing in number across the US, as the consumer need for health care meets the desire for quick and convenient service.
There is speculation that CCCs will continue to expand thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which will offer coverage for currently uninsured individuals. Consumers with newly-acquired health coverage will most likely not have a primary physician and that’s where some believe retail clinics will step in.
Clinics like CVS’s MinuteClinic aim to “make health care easier for people with a lot going on.” With the demand for fast, no strings attached medical service growing, are convenient care clinics truly living up to their name?
Using our social media analytics platform ForSight™, we explored how current CVS and Walmart clinic patients perceive the services’ efficiency, quality, and reliability. ForSight found over 4,000 relevant posts ranging from January to July of 2013 and analyzed the nuance of the CCC patient conversation.
Overall, 67% of users spoke positively about Walmart’s clinic and 59% about CVS’s MinuteClinic, with “lifecasting” (generally discussion about your experience in the context of day-to-day life) and general praise accounting for the largest portion of the conversations. More users spoke of the convenience of Walmart’s service, referencing its accessibility, ease, and speed, while CVS came up on top in terms of affordability.
CVS Social Sentiment
Walmart Social Sentiment
Sentiment of CVS’s affordability skyrocketed in June and July, growing to represent over 65% of total discussion. Since January, this proportion of the conversation has grown by 29%, while reference to Walmart’s affordable prices wavers each month and has only seen a 3% increase over time.
Convenient Care Clinics: Distinguished by Complaints
Though praise for each service was similar, with users mainly focusing on cost and efficiency, the complaints largely differed. The main grievance amongst CVS MinuteClinic customers was the long wait times, causing 38% to quip that the “minute clinic” should instead be called an “hour clinic.”
Wait if it's called a "minute clinic" then WHY IS MY WAIT TIME AN HOUR cvs literally sits on a throne of lies
— Elizabeth Slattery (@lizzie_slatts) May 25, 2013
For Walmart, only 9% of posts referred to unreasonably lengthy waits. However, 17% stated that they were embarrassed to admit they used the clinic and that they saw it as a desperate last resort. Users of CVS’s services did not voice the same humiliation.
Every doctors office is full so I have to go to Walmart clinic #embarrassing
— Bocaj Reklaw (@Jakewalker2) January 10, 2013
Customers of both services complained about the level of medical expertise and claimed that they received a misdiagnosis. Some voiced on social media that they went to a physician or even the hospital after their clinic visit to find that the medical advice given at CVS or Walmart was erroneous.
Most social media users have warmly accepted both CVS’s MinuteClinic and the clinic at Walmart. Where CVS wins is with its affordability and well-received brand image, as Walmart is perceived by some as an inferior, embarrassing option. The MinuteClinic name, however, perpetuates the idea of quick, convenient service that many believe CVS fails to provide.