Currently, Walgreens has 370 Take Care Clinics that were set up to treat minor medical issues when consumers are unable to make an appointment with a doctor, or to receive flu shots. Nurse practitioners and pharmacy technicians run these clinics.
Now, Walgreens will expand their available services into chronic care - in order to treat, diagnose, and monitor patients who have chronic sicknesses like diabetes and heart disease, as well as preventive health care.
The former neighborhood pharmacy aimed to meet the need for greater access to affordable health services and close gaps in patient care, while also improving synchronization.
Dr. Jeffrey Kang, senior vice president of health and wellness services and solutions, Walgreens, explained:
"With this service expansion, Take Care Clinics now provide the most comprehensive service offering within the retail clinic industry, and can play an even more valuable role in helping patients get, stay and live well. Through greater access to services and a broader focus on disease prevention and chronic condition management, our clinics can connect and work with physicians and other providers to better help support the increasing demands on our health care system today."
Expansion of CareIn addition to chronic care management, the new growth of care will examine, recommend, and order preventive care health services - including lab tests or screenings, based on a patient's family history, age, and gender.
As of late, retail clinics have begun to receive consumer acceptance, recognition, and approval for administering quality care.
Walgreens will still encourage patients to have a primary care physician for ongoing medical requirements, and under this expansion, will continue to collaborate with providers to complement a patient's physician care plan.
Heather Helle, divisional vice president, consumer solutions group, Walgreens, said:
"The existing gaps in patient care and demands on an already overburdened health care system are all projected to worsen with an influx of new patients under health care reform. Walgreens is stepping up to be part of the solution. As innovative care delivery models emerge, we are uniquely positioned to play an integral role in addressing the needs of patients, payers, and providers and to help shape the future of health care delivery in the U.S."
The Take Care Clinics offer longer weekend and evening hours, and are open seven days a week, with walk-in availability, and same-day online appointment scheduling. They accept most major insurance plans and offer obvious and inexpensive pricing for those without insurance plans.
Through Clinical Affiliations, Walgreens Aims to Improve Patient CareClinical affiliations strive to multiply opportunities for clinical coordination and bettering patient care, making it more accessible at Take Care Clinics. By initiating these programs, professionals from the health care systems coordinate information and health care choices that may not be available at a primary care clinic when a patient needs a certain appointment time.
David B. Nash, founding dean, Jefferson School of Population Health in Philadelphia, commented:
"In a post-ACA environment, managing the health of broad populations is going to increasingly require coordination among partners across the spectrum of care. I have long been an advocate of the retail clinic model. Take Care Health's expansion of services and ongoing formation of clinical affiliations with leading health systems represents the direction health care is trending and the type of innovation that will be the key to improving outcomes and increasing access."
Walgreens reiterates that their main goal is to improve access and care for patients. In an effort to achieve this goal, they will ensure their patients are receiving the best care at all of their locations.
In the fall of 2011, Walgreens started selling health insurance plans to customers. Through different price ranges and coverage levels, they offered different insurance plans via a private health insurance exchange.
In 2010, Walgreens offered the most comprehensive flu shot program in the USA.
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald