From the Editor: Retail Clinics Tackle Acute and Chronic Conditions

December 1st 2015
Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD, FCPP, FAAN
Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD, FCPP, FAAN

With big projections of primary care physician shortages in the United States, more Americans are turning to retail clinics for their health care needs.

With big projections of primary care physician shortages in the United States, more Americans are turning to retail clinics for their health care needs. As the number of retail clinics is speculated to surpass 2800 by 2017, the nurse practitioners and physician assistants who staff these clinics are becoming the first lines of defense, as well as the supporting players, in not only battling acute conditions such as colds, but in some cases also providing chronic disease care for conditions such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia. That is why we are devoting this issue to both an acute illness (cough, cold, and flu) and a chronic disease (heart health).

Articles in this issue provide best practices for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the retail clinic—from the initial visit where retail-based clinicians may first recognize an issue to support measures that can ensure that these patients get or stay healthy. This issue also includes an educational case study that explores the signs of myocardial infarction that might not be readily apparent. Because a multitude of visitors to retail clinics are already taking some type of heart medication, this issue also highlights important drug-drug interactions between common cough, cold, and flu medications and cardiac drugs.

The majority of retail clinic visits are still related to cough, cold, and flu, and so this issue provides educational articles on differential diagnoses between the flu and other diseases, as well as advice on treating patients with the flu outside of the 48-hour mark. This issue also offers guidance to retail clinicians on how to stay healthy, and there is easy-to-read information for clinicians to educate patients on when they truly need an antibiotic and when they do not.

As retail clinics continue to provide both acute and chronic care,Contemporary Clinicwill continue to provide the latest clinical updates on focused therapeutic areas that relate to patient care in the convenient care setting.

Tine Hansen-Turton serves as the founding executive director for the Convenient Care Association (CCA), the national trade association for the over 2,000 private-sector retail clinics industry, which serves millions of people with basic health care services across the country, and has been coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen as a “disruptive health innovation.” She assists CCA with business and programmatic strategy, development, coordination and implementation, as well as with policy development and state and national advocacy.

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