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Retail Health Clinics: AAFP's Response
The AAFP continues to observe and respond to the ongoing development of retail clinics in America. While retail clinics may provide a limited scope of health care services for patients, this can ultimately lead to fragmentation of the patient's health care unless it is coordinated with the primary care physician's office.
Retail clinics are not the only source of convenient care available for patients today. The overwhelming majority of family physicians offer same-day scheduling in their practice and roughly half of all family physicians have extended office hours for patients to seek care. This easy access, combined with the adoption of the principles of patient-centered care, allows family physicians to provide highly convenient care while avoiding overall fragmentation of care.
Care delivered in retail clinics can be a component of patient-centered care, but must work in coordination with primary care physicians to ensure that care is not further fragmented. Fragmentation and unaccountable silos of care are in direct opposition to achieving continuous whole-person care with improved health outcomes for both the individual and society.
While the AAFP recognizes the demand for the advancement of patient-centered care in the American health care delivery system, it should not be at the expense of comprehensive coordinated longitudinal care. (2010 COD) (2012 COD)