Your Kaiser Permanente Doctor Will See You Now – at Target

In a move that reflects the increasing wave of consumer-driven healthcare, Target Corporation is teaming up with Kaiser Permanente to open four in-store Target Clinics in Southern California, taking a host of services directly to thousands of customers.

The clinics opened at Target stores in Vista, San Diego and Fontana, and a fourth clinic will open in West Fullerton Dec. 6. They will be staffed by nurse practitioners from Kaiser.

While Target has maintained clinics for the past 10 years at a number of stores, the partnership will allow for a much broader array of services than it typically offered at retail outlets. Expanded services include telemedicine consultations, prescription reviews, pediatric primary care visits, OB-GYN services, vaccinations and flu shots, pediatric and adolescent care and management of chronic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure, according to John Holcomb, vice president of healthcare for Target.

“We’re going to have an additional point of care,” he said, noting that the Permanente Medical Group of Southern California will oversee operations for Kaiser.

A key element of the partnership is the telemedicine, which combines Kaiser’s IT infrastructure with Target, Holcomb said.

“It’s going to reduce the dead ends in the retail environment for healthcare,” he said.

The collaboration could also lead to the exchange of data between a healthcare giant and a retail giant, perhaps offering a glimpse and potential lessons in health IT and interoperablity that could be used to better understand patients, Holcomb said.

“For the Kaiser member, from an IT perspective, we’re also able to integrate their records into Target. This is going to help us learn…I think that’s going to help the industry evolve,” he said, although any access to patient information will only be for the purpose of providing healthcare. Sharing of patient data will not occur between the retail side and the healthcare side.

The services will be available to both members and nonmembers of Kaiser, somewhat of a rarity for the Oakland-based HMO that operates in nine states. Each of the four locations includes a Target pharmacy.

For Kaiser, the collaboration “is the evolution of expanding” it’s services “into a setting that will provide patients with wellness support,” Paul Minardi, medical director of business management, said in a statement.

Nationwide, Target Clinic has 79 locations in seven states. The clinics are also in the process of contracting with Medicare, MediCal, and with Blue Shield of California and other health plans in the area for certain services.

Steve Lafferty, senior director of clinics and healthcare partnerships, said Target may explore other locations in California with Kaiser, but anything outside of Southern California is too soon to speculate. But the collaboration makes a lot of sense for both parties, he said.

“We felt we should probably think about how to do it strategically with a partner,” he said, noting Kaiser’s significant markert presence in the state.

Lafferty said Kaiser and Target began discussions at a TedMed conference in 2013 on healthcare innovation.

“They were thinking similar things on how to bring convenience to their members,” Lafferty said of Kaiser.

The further push into retail healthcare – seen across the industry, from Walmart to the growing role of retail pharmacies like CVS and Rite Aid, among others – is likely to accelerate as the health system looks for way to curb hospitalizations, improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

“That’s where our strategy is based,” Holcomb said, noting that the shift away from fee-for-service to ACOs and bundled payments is driving the trend.

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Your Kaiser Permanente doctor will see you now – at Target

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