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Healthcare Key Findings, April 2013

Posted in Healthcare, Key Findings

Healthcare Services Now Available at Walgreens, CVS and Target

minute clinic

Amid continuing concerns about healthcare costs and a potential shortage of primary care doctors, Walgreens announced this month that it is expanding its healthcare services to include diagnosing and treating patients for chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and high cholesterol. Other retail clinics, such as those at Walmart, CVS and Target stores already assist customers with managing chronic illnesses.  Walgreens says it has more than 300 Take Care Clinics operating in 18 states and the District of Columbia that employ nurse practitioners and physician assistants who will now conduct tests and make diagnoses, and also write prescriptions, refer patients for additional tests and help them manage their conditions. Such retail clinics appeal to customers looking for convenience and cost savings. Cost savings are about 30% – 40% less than similar care at doctor’s offices and 80% cheaper than at an (often over-burdened) emergency room, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care. A New York Times article noted recently that contrary to what many believe, the rising use of emergency rooms for routine medical issues is not a result of poor people without insurance; the biggest increase involves the middle-class patients whose personal physicians could not be reached when they needed care. A New England Healthcare Institute report found overuse of emergency rooms is responsible for $38 billion in wasteful spending and that 56% of all visits could be avoided. According to Walgreens, physicians will help oversee its clinics. In addition, clinics are working to affiliate with or link to doctors’ offices, and even refer patients to doctors, when necessary or requested. Walgreens also operates about 350 health clinics at worksites which are paid for by employers. (www.kaiserhealthcarenews.org)

Bullets

  • More than a quarter of Americans (26%) have government-based health insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, and military benefits. (Gallup; 202-715-3030)
  • Almost four in 10 Americans (39%) say more than a quarter of the food they eat is gluten-free. (The Hartman Group; 425-452-0818)
  • More than 1,350 healthcare clinics can be found in drugstore and retail settings nationwide, and the country’s largest retail clinic chain, CVS Caremark MinuteClinic, plans to add 100 new clinics every year for the next few years. (healthcaredesignmagazine.com)
  • More than a quarter of Americans who buy vitamins and supplements (28%) get most of their information about these products from friends and relatives rather than doctors or pharmacists. (AccentHealth; 813-349-7100)
  • The Mayo Clinic started the Center for Social Media in July 2010, unofficially becoming the global face of social media for the healthcare industry. Since its creation, the center has accumulated more than 140 member organizations worldwide. The Mayo clinic has a simple 12 word social media policy: “Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry, Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete, Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal”. (cnn.com)

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