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Three of Nation’s Largest Retail Health Companies Sign To Support AAFP Attributes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 02, 2007
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223
MinuteClinic, RediClinic and Take Care Health agree to provide medical care in accordance with the AAFP’s desired attributes for retail clinics
In an effort to address concerns about the quality of care provided at retail health clinics, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) last year published a list of “desired attributes” all retail clinics should have to ensure safe care for patients. Since the AAFP published them, three of the nation’s most prominent retail health companies – RediClinic, MinuteClinic and Take Care Health – have signed an agreement in support of these attributes:
- Scope of Service — Retail clinics must have a well-defined and limited scope of clinical services.
- Evidence-based Medicine — Clinical services and treatment must be evidence-based and quality improvement oriented.
- Team-based Approach — The clinic should have a formal connection with physician practices in the local community, preferably with family physicians, to provide continuity of care. Other health professionals, such as nurse practitioners, should only operate in accordance with state and local regulations, as part of a “team-based” approach to health care and under responsible supervision of a practicing, licensed physician.
- Referrals — The clinic must have a referral system to physician practices or to other entities appropriate to the patient’s symptoms beyond the clinic’s scope of work. The clinic should encourage all patients to have a “medical home.”
- Electronic Health Records — The clinic should have an EHR system sufficient to gather and communicate patient information with a family physician’s office, preferably one that is compatible with the Continuity of Care Record supported by AAFP and others.
“The AAFP has worked to foster positive relationships with MinuteClinic, RediClinic, Take Care Health and other retail health companies in order to promote patient safety,” said Rick Kellerman, M.D., president of the AAFP. “We were the first medical organization to define the attributes physicians think all retail health clinics should follow. While the AAFP does not endorse any particular retail health clinic business model or company, we are delighted three of the nation’s largest retail health companies have signed an agreement promising to keep our ‘desired attributes’ at the core of the care they provide.”
Many patients see retail health clinics as a quick, easy and inexpensive way to obtain health care. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants describe retail clinics as well-paying employers that offer excellent benefits and flexible hours.
The AAFP believes patients can obtain relief for common, acute, minor medical problems at retail health clinics in a limited number of circumstances.
“Retail health clinics may complement the work of family and other primary care physicians,” Kellerman said. “However, retail clinics cannot replace a patient’s personal physician.”
When a patient visits his family physician, the physician often provides advice and treatment for more than the concern that prompted the visit. In fact, data indicate that during a single routine office visit, the average family physician treats four problems, including the acute problem that prompted the visit, and provides a range of preventive and chronic care services.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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