Because scope-of-practice laws are burdensome, healthcare organizations that do dive into the drop-in clinic world might consider lobbying their legislators to ease up on those laws so they can realize some of the potential cost savings outlined in the study, Spetz says.
Finally, the study authors suggest there needs to be improved care coordination between traditional providers and retail clinics.
"That information that the patient was even [visiting the retail clinic] may or may not make it back to the primary care office," Spetz says, therefore it would behoove hospitals to open the lines of communication between themselves and retail clinics. "Everyone needs to be more cognizant about how they can share information."
The bottom line? Retail clinics aren't going away and might just be the perfect marriage between nurse practitioners' skills and patient needs and demands. And for the cost-savings from retail clinics to be even greater, APRNs must not be limited by scope of practice laws.
"I've never seen a study that showed that restrictions on NP's practice improved patient safety," Spetz says.
If those burdens are costly, and don't improve patient safety, then what's the point?