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11 Nov

Finding balance: Retail clinic vs. primary care

Finding balance: Retail clinic vs. primary care

An increasing number of retail grocery chains and pharmacies that offer clinic services are making it easier for consumers to get medical care to meet their schedules. From posting pricing for various medical services upfront to extended hours, many consumers are forgoing their regular doctor for routine immunizations, physicals and urgent sick visits for retail health clinics. But what, if any, are the drawbacks to this type of care?

Your primary care physician (PCP) most likely has a complete record of your medical history, allergies, and any medications you may be currently taking. These are all important factors for holistic healthcare. To ensure a consistency of healthcare and the best outcomes for patients, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that retail clinics and PCPs need to stay in communication about their patients. The policy states that retail clinics should:

•    Encourage patients to follow-up with a primary care physician
•    Obtain the primary care physician’s approval for referrals to subspecialist care
•    Share prescription and visit information with the patient’s primary care clinic

According to Wayne J. Riley, M.D., president of the ACP, “a balance must be struck between the convenience and easy access retail clinics provide with the importance of establishing relationships between patients and physicians, particularly for patients who have complex medical histories and/or multiple medical problems.”

With competition increasing, many PCPs are offering more accessible and convenient hours for patients and new features like allowing patients to book appointments online. As healthcare continues to evolve, it is important that both PCPs and retail clients work together to ensure the best results for patients.

What has your experience been going to a retail health clinic vs. your primary care physician?



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