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by Yaneer Bar-Yam
Step I: Separate Simple Care
Flu shots and other simple preventive care are best taken care of outside the doctor's office or hospital setting.

CVS is installing MinuteClinics in its pharmacies. Walmart has such clinics at over 50 locations and is planning thousands. These clinics, originally developed to provide routine treatment for minor problems such as strep infections, now also offer preventive services, including vaccinations, cholesterol and other tests, and school physicals.

What is the payback in widespread retail clinics?

To be sure, a retail setting offers convenience and efficiency in implementing preventive care via large volume, simplicity, and a focus on healthy people. Whenever a large number of similar tasks are to be performed, the medical system is well-served by moving such care from physicians’ offices or hospitals to the retail setting.

Besides easing the burden on doctors—freeing them for complex tasks for which their time is now too limited—the separating-out of mass care from individual care would streamline high-volume processes. This would address the excess costs that arise when the performer and the task don’t match.

More people would gain access to routine care due to the convenience of location and avoidance of the need to make appointments, travel to the doctor, and wait.

What is clear is that making preventive healthcare more accessible can reduce illness, further easing the burden on the medical system. It is time for the medical and insurance communities to embrace this solution.

Next: Step II: Empower workgroup competition.

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