The collaboration between Community Health Network and Walgreens' Healthcare Clinic is officially underway as of last week, the companies announced. It's just one manifestation of how retail clinics and the pharmacies that house them will contribute to making health care more cost-efficient in the years ahead through coordinated care vetted by improved outcomes.
In fact, 2014 will be the year of the retail clinic. The collaboration dovetails nicely with Walgreens' plans to significantly expand the scope of care found at Healthcare Clinic that president and CEO Greg Wasson talked about at the company's last quarterly conference call. "These new services include diagnosis, treatment and management for hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma, as well as additional preventive health services," he said.
And CVS/Caremark is positioning its MinuteClinic as a go-to source to support care management and wellness programs associated with the new state and federal health exchanges. CVS/Caremark plans to open 150 clinics this year, and to end 2013 with just under 800 clinics with almost one-third expanding into new markets, Larry Merlo, CVS/Caremark president and CEO, recently told investors.
In addition to big growth moves from the leaders, expect other retailers who seemingly had been on the sidelines previously to expand both the scope and footprint of their clinic operations in the months ahead. One example is Ahold, which will open its fourth FastCare clinic Tuesday. Lancaster General Hospital Express is also partnering with Ahold on retail clinics.