WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — At the start of the article titled "Retail Clinics and Drug store Medicine" published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, author Christine Cassell, a physician, acknowledges that retail-based clinics have been "criticized in some quarters" but states that, despite this, the clinics have experienced success by patient satisfaction and quality scores. The fact that this message is coming from a physician makes it especially important.
(THE NEWS: Physician-authored JAMA article highlights importance of retail clinics, drug store medicine. For the full story, click here.)
That criticism that Cassell is referring to largely stems from the community of primary care physicians, some of whom have felt threatened by the concept and have expressed concern about the collaboration of care. So it is important to note that a premiere medical journal for physicians ran an article written by a physician who believes that retail clinics and drug store medicine are the future of health care in America.
Hmmm ... sounds familiar. That's a point that Drug Store News and the convenient care industry have stressed repeatedly, but we understand that when it comes from a doctor you have to take it seriously. "Dr. Cassel observes many of the most important elements of retail-based convenient care that the Convenient Care Association and its members have been talking about — and successfully demonstrating — for years, and also offers welcome insights into how the retail-based convenient care clinic industry figures into the future of health care," said Tine Hansen-Turton, executive director of the CCA.
"We appreciate and agree with Dr. Cassel's assessment of how convenient care clinics can offer both an invaluable point of care for patients as well as critical partnership to other healthcare providers," Hansen-Turton continued. "We welcome conversations with all healthcare stakeholders to work toward effective care coordination and collaboration among providers."
At the close of the article, Cassel wrote: "There are challenges, but this is happening already. The question is whether this phenomenon will grow and flourish in the ways described here or whether 20th-century attitudes about physician and hospital dominance in health care will prevent market-based solutions to the healthcare access and cost crisis. This model is a challenge to medical and hospital leadership, as well as to leaders in the retail health clinic industry, as they pursue the potential opportunities and benefits for the American people."
Let's hope this charge to the rest of the medical community serves as a final wakeup call as to the importance of this model to REAL healthcare reform.