July 29, 2014
A new study by Walgreens has found more people are turning to retail clinics as an important healthcare service for their care. Patients are relying more on nurse practitioners at retail clinics to provide chronic and preventive health services, according to the study’s findings.
The percentage of visits to Walgreens Healthcare Clinics for preventive services, screening, and chronic visit utilization increased from 4% in 2007 to 17% in 2013. In addition, the annual percentage of return patient visits to Walgreens Healthcare Clinics increased from 15% in 2007 to >50% in both 2012 and 2013.
The Walgreens study also found that for patients ≤17 years of age, there was a 180% increase in the number of visits for both preventive services and vaccinations. For patients 18 to 64 years of age, visits for health testing increased by 90% and overall preventive health services visits increased by 66%. Additionally, for patients ≥65 years of age, acute visits increased by 84%.
“Access to care in the community and the growing need to support patients with chronic diseases are 2 of the biggest challenges facing our healthcare system,” said Harry Leider, MD, chief medical officer, Walgreens, in a report from the company. “This further demonstrates that retail clinics can be instrumental in providing that care, driving patient engagement, and working in coordination with physicians and other primary care providers to foster continuity of care to support more patients.”
These study findings were presented at the National Nurse Practitioner Symposium, which took place last week in Keystone, Colorado. The findings are a result of a retrospective, longitudinal study examining patient visits to select Walgreens Healthcare Clinics between 2007 and 2013.
The Convenient Care Associated has estimated that 33% of Americans live within 10 minutes of a retail healthcare clinic.—Kerri Fitzgerald