Hospital-Run Retail Clinics Forging Alliances with Supermarkets

Marianne Aiello, May 21, 2014

As CVS and Walgreens continue to add to their hospital rosters, supermarket chains are beginning to test the retail clinic waters, offering healthcare organizations the opportunity to reach potential patients in a different setting.

As healthcare reform continues to roll out, healthcare is as hot a topic as it ever has been. This weekend, even the keynote speaker at my brother's business school graduation touched on innovations happening in hospitals and health systems, from remote patient monitoring to electronic medical records to care coordination with retail clinics.

The speaker was the CEO of a large financial institution.

As his speech meandered back to the financial topic at hand, I couldn't help but think about how the primary audience—the graduating class in front of him—may not remember a time before retail clinics' existed.

My brother, for example, is lucky enough to have found himself a full-time job with health insurance prior to receiving his diploma, and yet he says his first stop for any minor ailment will not be his primary care physician, but the CVS Minute Clinic down the street from his apartment.

Retail Medicine Syncs with High-Deductible Health Plans

A growing number of hospitals and health systems are realizing that reaching patients at this burgeoning care access point is critical to their continued success, and collaborations with retail chains are on the rise. Walgreens and CVS are the retail clinic frontrunners, with 20 and 36 hospital affiliations, respectively.

"We look forward to working with these health systems to develop collaborative programs that improve patient outcomes, lower costs and help people on their path to better health," CVS/Caremark chief medical officer Troyen Brennan, MD, said in a statement last week when it announced new partnerships with Memorial Health in Georgia and Lahey Health in Massachusetts.

"Through these clinical affiliations, we will also be integrating our electronic medical records and information systems to enable us to support patients with medication counseling and chronic disease monitoring," Brennan said.

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