Investing in the growth of the retail health segment continues to be a hit-or-miss proposition for major chains around the country. While Walmart is hoping it won’t strike out with its third iteration of a clinic offering, Safeway is pulling the plug on plans to offer “upscale” clinical services—the keystone of which would have been a vendor’s blood analyzer—in 800 stores. Safeway spent around $350 million to build the clinics, hoping the blood tests produced by Theranos Inc. would draw shoppers who needed bloodwork. However, the grocery giant questioned the accuracy of their partner’s tests and says Theranos missed implementation deadlines. Theranos says its tests have proved accurate in “millions” of patients. The Safeway clinics continue to operate, offering services such as flu shots and travel-related vaccinations. Chains like CVS and Walgreens have seen success offering vaccinations and care for lower-acuity complaints in their physician assistant- and nurse practitioner-staffed clinics.

Retail health expansion is no sure thing
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