Retail Clinics

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
       the community.
  • 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) (2019 COD)