DEERFIELD, Ill. — More patients are turning to retail clinics for chronic and preventive care, a new Walgreen Co. study shows.
Patient loyalty is climbing with usage, the research found, with half of those who utilize clinics making return visits.
The study notes that the percentage of visits to Walgreens Healthcare Clinics for preventive services, screenings and chronic care (combined) increased from 4% in 2007 to 17% in 2013. It also found that the annual share of return patient visits to Healthcare Clinics climbed from 15% in 2007 to more than 50% in both 2012 and 2013.
“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,” Dr. Harry Leider, Walgreens’ chief medical officer, said last month. “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.”
The research also found that visits for both preventive services and vaccinations for patients age 17 and under grew by 180%.
Visits for health testing for patients 18 to 64 increased by 90%, while overall preventive health service visits increased 66%. For patients 65 and older, acute care visits increased 84%.
“More consumers are relying on Healthcare Clinic and our nurse practitioners as a trusted source of quality care,” said 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.”