MinuteClinic bolsters clinical affiliations with new Sharp Healthcare partnership

WOONSOCKET, R.I. and SAN DIEGO — Retail-based clinic operator MinuteClinic, a division of CVS Caremark, and Southern California healthcare system Sharp HealthCare have entered into a clinical affiliation to enhance access to healthcare services throughout San Diego County.

MinuteClinic currently has 10 walk-in medical clinics in San Diego County.

"It was important for us to develop a clinical affiliation with a system like Sharp HealthCare that delivers high-quality services throughout San Diego County and overlaps with our clinic sites, which span from Oceanside to El Cajon," said Andrew Sussman, president of MinuteClinic and SVP/associate chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "We look forward to working with them to integrate our electronic medical record systems and develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health."

The clinical affiliation encourages collaboration between Sharp HealthCare and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at these locations. Sharp-affiliated physicians will supervise MinuteClinic nurse practitioners, and if more comprehensive follow-up care is needed, patients can choose to see a Sharp-affiliated physician or another primary care physician. In addition, MinuteClinic and Sharp HealthCare will collaborate on patient education and disease management initiatives and will inform patients of the services each offers.

"Increasing access to care is indeed important, especially in this era of healthcare reform," said Mike Murphy, CEO of Sharp HealthCare. "MinuteClinic plays an important role in providing patients with timely care at an affordable price, and we are pleased to be part of this effort to help deliver the kind of care that patients want."

MinuteClinic and Sharp HealthCare will begin to work toward integrating electronic medical record systems to streamline communication around all aspects of each individual's care. With patient permission, MinuteClinic will electronically share medical histories and visit summaries with other Sharp HealthCare facilities and physicians. In the meantime, MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers via fax or mail, typically within 24 hours, with patient consent.

Sharp is San Diego's largest integrated health system with more than 15,500 employees, 2,600 affiliated physicians, and multiple facilities throughout the county.

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