Take Care Health Systems' treatment of pharyngitis, upper respiratory infections exceeds national quality benchmarks

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, announced on Monday that treatment of pharyngitis and upper respiratory infections at its clinics exceed national quality benchmarks, according to an analysis of data collected through its EMR system by the Jefferson School of Population Health.

The results recently were published in the American Journal of Medical Quality. Data for the analysis were collected between Oct. 1, 2006 and Sept. 30, 2008. During this period, Take Care Health Systems opened more than 200 clinics across the United States.

The analysis focused on the treatment of two of the most common acute illness in children: pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat) and URIs.

Treatment of these conditions at Take Care was measured against National Center for Quality Assurance Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set guidelines. These guidelines are used by more than 90% of America's health plans to measure performance on care and service.

Researchers found that Take Care Health professionals treating children met HEDIS guidelines in nearly 93% of pharyngitis visits and more than 88% in URI visits. This can be compared with the average rates for guideline adherence in the overarching healthcare community of 74.7% for pharyngitis and 83.5% for URIs. Researchers also noted that Take Care Health professionals demonstrated a patient-centric focus on quality exhibited by patient follow-up protocols. All patients who have a sick visit to a Take Care Clinic receive a follow-up call from a Take Care Health professional within 48 hours of their clinic visit.

"Walgreens is continuing to build, develop and invest in models of care that have the ability to increase healthcare access for patients while lowering costs," stated Hal Rosenbluth, SVP at Walgreens and president of Walgreens' health and wellness division. "Continued evidence that innovations like retail clinics can truly create the best possible outcomes while mitigating upward trends in healthcare spending encourages ongoing collaboration with the healthcare community, further evolving the way patients in this country seek and receive healthcare services."

Furthermore, the study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality, in conjunction with previously published research, continues to statistically demonstrate that providers at clinics located inside or near retail pharmacies prescribe antibiotics meeting and exceeding national benchmarks. Clinical protocol for pharyngitis and URIs specifically note that healthcare professionals should not prescribe or dispense an antibiotic as part of a treatment plan unless clear indications of a bacterial infection are present.

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