DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Retail clinics continue to play a growing and important role in health care delivery in the U.S., and a new research study from Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) shows patients are relying more on nurse practitioners at retail clinics to provide chronic and preventive health services. The study also reveals marked increases in the number of patients who are making return visits to clinics.
The Walgreens study found the percentage of visits to Healthcare Clinic locations for preventive services, screening and chronic visit utilization (combined) increased from 4 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2013. The study also found the annual percentage of return patient visits to Healthcare Clinic climbed from 15 percent in 2007, to more than 50 percent 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,” said Harry Leider, M.D., Walgreens chief medical officer. “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.”
Additional study findings include:
- For patients age 17 and under, visits for both preventive services and vaccinations increased by 180 percent
- For patients ages 18 to 64, visits for health testing increased by 90 percent, while overall preventive health service visits increased 66 percent
- For patients age 65 and older, acute visits increased 84 percent
“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, 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 Clinic at select Walgreens from 2007 through 2013. The symposium gathered industry experts to share insights and strategies for the specialty and traditional pharmacy benefit.
With the current locations and clinic count, the Convenient Care Association estimates that 33 percent of Americans live within 10 minutes of a retail healthcare clinic. The variety of services offered at Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens has increased over the course of the past several years from providing vaccinations at the beginning, to diagnosing and treating a number of chronic conditions today.
Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens locations are open seven days a week, with extended evening and weekend hours, and offer walk-in availability as well as same-day online appointment scheduling. Healthcare Clinics accept most major insurance plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid, and offer affordable, transparent pricing for those without insurance coverage. Healthcare Clinic’s board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants deliver patient-centric care, driving patient satisfaction rates that are consistently greater than 90 percent.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, in communities across America, more than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with online and mobile services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,215 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that manages more than 400 in-store convenient care clinics throughout the country.