The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) believes that patient-centered primary care delivered through medical home is foundational to a health care system that improves the quality and efficiency of care. The AAFP monitors market-based developments in health care delivery that are evolving to meet the expanding needs of patients for timely, convenient, transparent, and consumer-centric health 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 characteristics for Retail Clinics and their sponsoring companies to guide potential collaboration between primary care and these companies:
- Retail clinics must use local community 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 that their medical
directors include family physicians or other primary care
- Retail clinics should support physician-led care. If the
patient sees a non-physician provider (NPP), that NPP
should be supervised by a primary care physician who is
readily available onsite or virtually.
- Retail clinics will support the patient -physician
relationship by always referring patients back to their
primary care physician for continuing care.
- Core retail clinic services will be focused on a defined set
of guideline-based episodic services and should be
delivered in coordination with the patients’ primary care
physician to ensure that care is not further fragmented.
- Chronic care management and comprehensive
longitudinal care should be provided by a primary care
physician and medical home team and not by a retail
- 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, when there is a collaborative agreement with the
patient’s primary care physician which specifies the
guidelines, procedures, and protocols to be used to
provide such care.
- Retail clinics must establish operational protocols that
facilitate the timely transfer of medical records to the
patient’s primary care physician.
- Retail clinics must use electronic health records capable
of transmitting medical record data and information to
the patient’s primary care physician (and other
physicians as appropriate).
- When a patient lacks an established relationship with a
primary care physician, retail clinics will encourage and
assist patients in identifying a primary care physician in
- Retail clinics will maintain a listing of family physicians
within a reasonable distance of their location who are
accepting new patients.
- Retail clinics will establish a specific email address where
family physicians can email and request to be added to
the list of primary care physicians who are accepting
new patients- i.e. family physician@ (insert).com.
(2006 COD) (2018 December BOD)