Maybe you’ve seen the commercial—the mom, with her hands full from work, kids, and everything that goes with her daily life, gets a cold. The problem? Not only does she not have time to get sick, but she really doesn’t have time to go to the doctor either.

Enter a local drugstore chain’s retail clinic. She’s in, she’s out, and ready to get back to the grind.

The healthcare industry at large is full-speed ahead in moving toward a model that focuses on patient wellness through preventative care, and one of the doors opening across the nation to provide that care is in the retail space.

The topic was one tackled by the American Telemedicine Association at its annual meeting in San Jose in late April, with a news release on the topic stating that retail providers likely won't be alone in this new state of healthcare.

With the Walmarts and Walgreens of the world taking advantage of their already existing distribution channels, “[they] are beginning to see major growth opportunities and new business models that actually make economic sense,” says Ronald L. Hammerle, the founder and chairman of Health Resources Ltd. and a speaker at the conference.

So how can healthcare providers take advantage of what’s already out there to offer patients better care at an affordable price?

Hammerle has a vision in mind:
“The next round of growth will electronically link large numbers of clinics, pharmacies, and independently owned and operated primary care clinics to a small number of medical centers of excellence, using telemedicine technologies, computer information, and proven systems for branding, management, and expansion. Imagine combining the distribution of global retailers; the branding models of companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, Marriott, and Century 21; and the clinical knowledge of some of the best physicians in the world. That's where healthcare is going, regardless of the fate of the Affordable Care Act in the United States.”

It’s a powerful statement. And one I can’t help but think likely rings true of what’s to come.

Not only do healthcare providers need to consider these possibilities operationally, but the healthcare design and construction industry needs to do the same regarding the effects such a trend will have on physical space.

“Telemedicine,” “value,” “wellness,” “flexibility,” “efficiency”—these are all buzzwords our ears at Healthcare Building Ideas, and probably your ears as well, have heard from industry insiders this year. These concepts will take shape in a variety of ways, and retail is yet another to consider.