Consumers are relying more on retail clinics to provide chronic care and preventive health services, according to new research by Walgreen Co.

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More people turning to retail clinics to maintain health, Walgreens finds

July 17th, 2014

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Consumers are relying more on retail clinics to provide chronic care and preventive health services, according to new research by Walgreen Co.

Walgreens said Thursday that, in a study of its Healthcare Clinic subsidiary, the percentage of visits for preventive services, health screenings and chronic illnesses rose to 17% in 2013 from 4% in 2007 to 17% in 2013.

The study also found the annual percentage of return patient visits to Healthcare Clinic jumped to more than 50% in 2013 and 2012 from 15% in 2007.

"Access to care in the community and the growing need to support patients with chronic diseases are two of the biggest challenges facing our health care system," Harry Leider, chief medical officer of Walgreens, said in a statement. "This further demonstrates that retail clinics can be instrumental in providing that care, driving patient engagement and working in coordination with physicians and other primary care providers to foster continuity of care to support more patients."

Health testing visits by patients age 18 to 64 climbed 90%, and overall preventive health service visits grew 66%, the study revealed. For patients 17 and younger, visits for preventive services and vaccinations surged 180%, and acute care visits by patients 65 and older rose 84%,

At Healthcare Clinics, care is delivered by board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

"More consumers are relying on Healthcare Clinic and our nurse practitioners as a trusted source of quality care," stated Suzanne Hansen, Walgreens group vice president for Healthcare Clinic. "Our expansion of chronic and preventive services last year is helping to drive more return visits from our patients, which is key to the patient-provider relationship and our ability to deliver personalized care."

The findings were presented last week at the National Nurse Practitioner Symposium in Keystone, Colo., and were based on a retrospective longitudinal study examining patient visits to Healthcare Clinics from 2007 through 2013.

Walgreens reported that, based on current locations and clinic count overall, the Convenient Care Association estimates that 33% of Americans live within 10 minutes of a retail health clinic.

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