Could fragmented care offset convenience benefits of retail clinics? 4 recommendations from AMA annual meeting

Retail health clinics should strive to offer more than just convenience, according to the AMA House of Delegates.

The HOD outlined its new set of principles during the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago, including one that retail health clinics should ensure they promote continuity of care and emphasize the importance of primary care, according to the AMA Wire.

Recent estimates indicate the total number of U.S. retail health clinics will reach 2,800 this year, according to the report. The clinics represent an attractive option for patients because of their transparent pricing and immediacy. However, the HOD's new policy suggests that "any individual, company or entity that operates a retail health clinic ought to follow certain guidance as set forth." It states that retail clinics:

  • Must help patients find a primary care physician or usual source of care in the community if they do not already have one.
  • Must use EHRs to transfer patients' medical records and visit summaries to their primary care physician and other providers, with patients' consent.
  • Should work with primary care providers and medical homes to ensure continuity of care and ensure follow-up care is delivered.
  • Should install local physicians as medical directors or supervisors for retail clinics.

The HOD's new principles also say retail clinics should not expand their scope of services beyond minor acute illnesses, such as sore throat, common cold and flu symptoms.

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