Magazine article Drug Topics

Outpatient Pharmacy Industry Increases Scope of Care to Meet Patients' Needs

Magazine article Drug Topics

Outpatient Pharmacy Industry Increases Scope of Care to Meet Patients' Needs

Article excerpt

RETAIL CLINIC TRENDS

Healthcare delivery in the United States has evolved as more patients visit their neighborhood retail clinics for acute and preventive care.

In a recent Health Affairs report published online (http:// omtent.heaUhaffairs.org/content/earfy/20l2/08/l4/hlthaff2011.1128. fiill%20), it was reported that outpatient visits have steadily increased from 1.48 million in 2007 to 5.97 million in 2009. To accommodate this growth in U.S. healthcare demand, the retail clinic industry has rapidly expanded from 300 ambulatory clinics in 2007 to approximately 1,200 facilities in 2009. These clinics are located in pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retail settings. "The rapid growth of retail clinics makes it clear that they are meeting a patient need. Convenience and after-hours accessibility are possible drivers of this growth," the authors wrote.

The scope of care also has changed, with most of the outpatient visits that took place during 2000 to 2006 attributed to common, acute ailments (78.2%), such as upper respiratory infections and urinary tract infections, and simple preventive care (21.8%). In 2007 to 2009, outpatients visits to obtain preventive care, specifically the influenza vaccine, grew to 47.5% of total visits, and a slight uptick was seen in visits for management of chronic diseases (1.1%), including asthma, hypertension, and diabetes. "Visits for vaccinations increased greatly [during 20072009]; visits for other types of preventive care also increased, although their overall share remained relatively small," the authors reported. …

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