Walgreens made headlines recently with the news that it was getting out of the walk-in clinic business. The news sparked interesting reactions across the industry. Some pundits pointed to managerial missteps; healthcare delivery insiders breathed a sigh of relief, while others shot a knowing smile that said, “I told you so. Healthcare is complex and retail stores can’t do healthcare delivery.”

The closing of the 160 in-store clinics it had staffed was a disappointment for some, especially given the fanfare they’d received at opening about their potential as a disruptive business model. The event warrants deeper discussion about what it means for the industry. Is it a fundamentally bad idea to mix retail and healthcare? Should other disruptors (e.g. CVS, Walmart, Amazon) take this as an omen? Should traditional healthcare delivery organizations be reassured that the danger is over? Or should disruptors see the misstep as an opportunity to learn what they need to do differently?

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