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Physicians slowly moving to partner with retail clinics

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This Medical Economics article looks at why and how physicians can and should work with the burgeoning number of retail clinics to improve primary care, including for the millions of people with chronic conditions.

Most physicians are slowly moving toward partnering with clinics with the goal of improving overall access to and quality of primary care. “We do think there is a home for retail clinics as part of a medical neighborhood but it needs to be integrated back to the primary-care physician so we know what’s happening,” Wanda Filer, M.D.,  president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), told the publication.

“There are times when retail clinics work for acute, self-limited conditions, but over-reliance on them can fragment care and disrupt the medical home,” she warned.

“Ideally, the clinics would encourage patients to follow up with their primary care physician and make every effort to transfer their records in a timely way, but frequently that communication doesn’t happen,” John Meigs Jr., M.D., president-elect of the AAFP, told the publication. “The clinics can’t substitute for a long-term relationship with a primary-care provider who recognizes changes in a patient’s condition and works on risk factors and preventive measures to keep them healthy.”

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