More people are visiting retail clinics at Walgreens stores for preventive and chronic care-management services, and those who get healthcare services at the clinics are returning, according to a study presented by the company in July at the National Nurse Practitioner Symposium in Keystone, Colo.
The Walgreens study found the percentage of patient visits to its Healthcare Clinic locations for preventive services, screening and chronic care increased from 4% of all visits in 2007 to 17% in 2013. The study also found the number of patients returning to the clinics climbed from 15% in 2007 to more than 50% in 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, Harry Leider, MD, Walgreens chief medical officer, said in a news release. 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.
Visits for preventive services and vaccinations increased the most among patients under age 18, nearly tripling between 2007 and 2012. For patients ages 18 to 64, visits for health testing nearly doubled, while overall preventive health service visits increased by 66%.
The clinics are mainly staffed by nurse practitioners, and are open daily with extended evening and weekend hours. Walgreens operates about 400 clinics across the country.