Fueled by the physician shortage and the addition of millions of newly insured patients starting in 2014, the number of retail clinics is expected to grow by more than 100% by the end of 2015, according to a report published by Accenture. The growth represents a second surge for retail clinics. The last growth spurt occurred between 2001 and 2007 with the total number of clinics growing between 50% and 442% annually. However, since then, the growth stalled, mainly due to patients spending less on healthcare due to the recession. From 2010 to 2012 the annual growth ranged from 3% to 11%. There were 1,400 retail clinics at the end of 2012. Accenture also estimates the 2,800 clinics that are expected to be operating by 2016 will fulfill 10.8 million visits and reduce overall healthcare expenditures by $800 million per year. This is because retail clinics typically provide care that is less expensive than care delivered in primary care offices or emergency departments. Perhaps the most interesting part of the projected growth is that primary care physicians and hospitals are expected to embrace retail clinics as partners and not shun them as foes. Again, the reason goes back to the shortage. Primary care physicians are struggling to keep up with the demand for care, and they are beginning to see retail clinics as a needed lifeline. The Massachusetts Medical Society’s ninth annual Patient Access to Care Study shows that the average wait time for new patient appointments with primary care physicians is 50 days, and that half or more of primary care practices remain closed to new patients. As retail clinics continue to grow, Barton Associates is positioned to provide short- and long-term locum tenens staffing coverage. Our retail clinic clients leverage our services for everything from filling scheduling gaps to ramping up a new facility – and everything in between. Learn more about the Barton Advantage for Urgent Care.