Heim said having retail clinics provide disease management or conduct the required annual physical for high school athletes further fragments the healthcare system and works against the medical home concept where providers work as a team to offer patients with continuing and comprehensive care.
Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the Convenient Care Association trade group, said the retail clinic model still includes using electronic health records so information can be shared with a patient's primary-care doctor. She said there are currently some 1,200 clinics operating in the U.S. and that most of the growth has come from clinics partnering with hospitals and regional health systems.
Gabriel Weissman, spokesman for Walgreen Co. subsidiary Take Care Health Systems, would not directly say that management of chronic conditions (particularly hypertension) would begin being offered at Take Care facilities, but indicated it could be—adding that his company was continually evaluating new services particularly in the areas of prevention and wellness.
“We think there is an increasing need for innovation in the care of chronic conditions, and we will look to utilize our assets … to start addressing those issues,” Weissman said, adding that some 3 million patients have visited Take Care's nearly 360 facilities since the company began operation in 2005.
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