More than one-third (36 percent) of consumers with a primary care physician have also gone to a retail clinic such as Walgreens or Target for treatment of ear aches, sore throats, cuts, and broken bones, and even some monitoring of chronic disease. Of those, an impressive 95 percent have been satisfied with the care they received. Visits to retail clinics tripled between 2010 and 2014, and the six largest retail chains have more than 1,600 clinics in operation in the United States.

The supply of primary care nurse practitioners is expected to increase by 30 percent from 2010 to 2020. Three-quarters of consumers say they would be comfortable seeing a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. Using NPs or PAs instead of doctors has been estimated to save the state of Massachusetts more than $8 billion in the next decade, and managed primary care delivered by NPs costs 23 percent less compared to the average costs of other primary care physicians in Tennessee.

Hispanics are the consumer mavericks of primary care, according to PwC Health Research Institute analysts. 50 percent of Hispanics, compared with 28 percent of non-Hispanics, ask about the price of a visit before a clinician raises the issue, and Hispanic usage of mobile technology to make medical appointments (31 percent to 5 percent) and order prescription refills (27 percent to 20 percent) exceeds that of non-Hispanics. Also, 54 percent of Hispanic consumers regardless of income or insurance status have used retail clinics in the past year, compared with 33 percent of non-Hispanics, and 65 percent of Hispanics would be willing to use videoconferencing to meet with clinicians, compared with 47 percent of non-Hispanics.

Source: “Primary care in the New Health Economy: Time for a makeover,” PwC Health Research Institute.