- Piedmont Healthcare announced an agreement on Wednesday to operate and provide all clinical services at 27 retail clinics located in Walgreens pharmacies in the Atlanta area.
- The clinics will operate under the name Piedmont QuickCare and both Walgreens and Piedmont plan to share best practices aimed at improving quality care and the patient experience while reducing costs.
- This is Piedmont’s second collaboration with Walgreens, which has provided pharmacy services at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, Piedmont’s flagship hospital, since 2009.
Healthcare is becoming more and more about being able to provide the right care at the right time. The number of retail clinics, which have helped to expand access to care services, has continued to grow over the past several years, as well as the number of consumers who have visited one. There are now more than 3,000 retail clinics in operation and one in three consumers have visited one, compared to about 90 clinics with about one in 10 consumers who had used one in 2006. Also, retail clinic visits have nearly doubled among its commercially insured members over the past five years, a 2017 Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS) study found.
Alternative care settings like retail clinics are "certainly going to eat at the hospital space," Jon Porter, senior vice-president of network services at athenahealth, told Healthcare Dive. "We already have too many hospital beds in the country and we do too many things in the hospital that can be done elsewhere." Retail clinics have not had much of an impact on reducing non-emergency visits to emergency departments (ED), according to a 2016 study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. However, the proliferation of these care settings continues and they could potentially help to reduce ED visits by almost 30%, the BCBS study shows.
Walgreens has nearly 8,100 stores in the U.S. and about 400 of them have retail health clinics. The pharmacy retail chain has opted to outsource its clinical operations before. In August 2015, it brought on Seattle-based Providence Health & Services to open up to 25 walk-in clinics within its stores. It also outsourced 56 clinics in the Chicago area to Advocate Health Care last January.