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July 28, 2021 01:06pm
By Jill Murphy, Associate Editor
Today, the nurse practitioners and physician assistants staffing retail clinics provide acute care and manage chronic conditions.
When retail-based clinics first appeared on the health care landscape, they offered a limited scope of services, mostly treating seasonal conditions such as cough, cold, and the flu. Today, the nurse practitioners and physician assistants staffing retail clinics continue to provide this acute care, but in some cases, they are also managing chronic conditions like hypertension.
This expansion of clinical services is just one factor driving rapid growth in the retail clinic footprint, which is expected to reach 2150 clinics by the end of this month and surge to 2805 by 2017. Other factors that continue to have a profound impact on retail clinics’ profitability and will serve as key drivers of future expansion in this space are investments in integrated electronic health record (EHR) technology and partnerships with other health care players to grow patient volume.
The 2 largest providers of retail clinics, MinuteClinic and Walgreens Healthcare Clinic, are both implementing Epic’s state-of-the-industry Care Everywhere platform. This robust EHR network will securely interconnect their retail clinics and practitioners with other health care organizations and even health information exchanges to share patient medication lists, as well as assist with medication reconciliation during clinic visits.
MinuteClinic chief medical officer Nancy J. Gagliano, MD, noted that the customization and data analytics capabilities of the Care Everywhere network will allow MinuteClinic to build workflow rules that will streamline the work of its retail clinicians, who follow tight clinical guidelines.
Enhanced EHR platforms also present an opportunity for the nurse practitioners and physician assistants working in retail clinics, as they stand on the front line of navigating the Affordable Care Act and have a mandate to provide high-quality, streamlined care. Taking these growth factors into account, new projections show that retail clinics will add capacity for 25 million patient visits in 2017—significantly up from 16 million a year ago.
WithContemporary Clinic, we are providing the latest clinical updates across acute, chronic, and preventive care to help our readers make each and every one of these patient visits a clinical and commercial success.
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