What are specialized clinics?
Specialized clinics are care offerings that target a specific subpopulation. The subpopulation is often underserved or resistant to seeking care in traditional settings. Strategic planners typically consider specialty clinics as a means to scale growth or improve access to care in their community.
What do specialized clinics actually look like?
To help you understand what specialized clinics look like, we've profiled two progressive organizations that offer specialized clinics in response to the needs of their unique subpopulation.
1. MetroHealth's Pride Clinic
MetroHealth, an integrated health system based out of Cleveland, Ohio, created its Pride Clinic to provide an inclusive space for LGBTQ and sexual gender minority patients. The Pride Clinic trains its staff to understand the unique needs of these patients, to use gender-neutral pronouns, and to allow patients to choose the gender of their provider. In addition, the Pride Clinic uses public health methodologies to inform its clinical care offerings—allowing providers to offer a variety of sexual health services, such as screenings and HIV prevention services.
2. Joslin's Asian American Diabetes Initiative
Joslin Diabetes Center, a hospital-affiliated diabetes and endocrine clinic based in Boston, Massachusetts, also responded to its unique market needs. Joslin saw that Asian-Americans experience a higher rate of diabetes and present symptoms at a lower body mass index (BMI) than the average person—and that this population is often missed through traditional screening methods. In response, Joslin developed a tailored clinic dedicated to the Asian-American diabetes population in its market. The program caters to patients by appealing to their belief system and lifestyle. For example, the diabetes clinic tailors its nutrition suggestions to the unique dietary restrictions of many patients.
Are specialized clinics a smart investment?
To help you determine if a specialized clinic is a smart investment, you'll want to take two key steps:
1. Identify the right specialty clinic population
The specialty population should consist of individuals with unique health needs, requiring a specific set of services or treatment protocols that differs from the typical patient in your market. For example, the population may require a bilingual care team.
2. Ensure sufficient demand
You'll want to make sure there's enough demand in your market from this population to cover the costs of your investment. To do so, you'll need to understand both the size of the market and whether the populations' needs are currently being met by competitors.