• 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 physicians.
    • 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 clinic.
    • 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)