• Retail Clinics

    The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) believes patient-centered primary care delivered through a medical home is foundational to a health care system that improves the quality and efficiency of care. While the AAFP recognizes patient choice may prompt use of a retail clinic, that care should not be at the expense of the comprehensive, coordinated and longitudinal care available through a medical home.

    The following are a set of  principles for Retail Clinics and their sponsoring companies to guide potential collaboration between primary care and these companies:

    • Retail clinics must use physician medical directors who are actively engaged with clinic staff on the development and use of evidence-based care management protocols and quality improvement. Retail clinics should make efforts to ensure their medical directors include family physicians or other primary care physicians.
    • Retail clinics should support physician-led care. If the patient sees a non-physician clinician (NPC), that NPC should be supervised by a primary care physician who is readily available onsite or virtually.
    • Retail clinics that do not serve as the patient’s medical home will support the patient -physician relationship by always referring patients back to their primary care physician for continuing care.
    • Unless the retail clinic is associated with a health system or other health care clinician that provides comprehensive, longitudinal primary care, core retail clinic services, including those provided in-person and virtually, will be focused on a defined set of guideline-based episodic services related to minor acute illnesses, such as sore throat, common cold, flu symptoms, cough and sinus infections.
    • Chronic care management and comprehensive longitudinal care should be provided by a primary care physician and medical home team and not by a retail clinic that does not provide longitudinal primary care.
    • For patients with a chronic medical condition(s), the patient and their primary care physician may consider that certain care services may be provided in the retail clinic.
    • Retail clinics must establish operational protocols that facilitate the timely and proactive transfer of medical records to the patient’s primary care physician.
    • Retail clinics must use certified electronic health records technology capable of interoperable health information exchange and transmission of medical record data and information to the patient’s primary care physician (and other
      physicians as appropriate).
    • When a patient lacks a primary care physician, retail clinics will encourage and assist patients in identifying a primary care physician in the community.
    • Retail clinics will maintain a listing of family physicians within the community who are accepting new patients.

    (2006 COD) (April 2024 BOD)