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Retail clinics aren’t saving money as initially hoped

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, there’s a ton of money to be made if you can figure how to lower overall healthcare spending. Enter so-called minute clinics, the nearly 2,000 retail health care offices you find in big box stories and pharmacies.

The hope is patients would head to Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens or CVS, rather than the more expensive doctor’s office or ER. And while that’s happening a bit, it’s not enough to offset all the new people coming in to the clinics who until now had just stayed home and suffered through their illness, according to a study in Health Affairs out Monday.

Rand researcher Dr. Ateev Mehrotra said a minute clinic is to healthcare what an iPhone is to email.