Corner Care Clinics Transform Patient Treatment

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Registered Pharmacist Julie Acradescribes the Corner Care Clinicin the Medicine Shoppe pharmacyshe owns in Greensburg, Ind, asgroundbreaking. The clinic, whichopened in mid-December 2006, hasseen a steady stream of patients takingadvantage of the services provided.

Health clinics have been opening inpharmacies across the country. CornerCare Clinics provide compassionate,convenient, and cost-effective care ofcommon ailments for patients aged 2years and older. Now patients withcuts, scrapes, colds, allergies, asthma,and other conditions can visit a CornerCare Clinic and receive treatment froma nurse practitioner or physician assistant.If the treatment requires a prescription,the medical staff can write ascript that can easily be filled right atthe pharmacy.

The clinics also offer screenings forblood pressure or blood sugar andsports physicals, for example. Flu,pneumonia, and tetanus vaccines areavailable in addition.

Overall, the response has been positiveat the Greensburg location. "Ourpatients are very excited about thisnew service. They've come to trust thepharmacy and now can go to the clinicfor treatment and then come to thepharmacy to get the prescriptionfilled," said Acra.

Corner Care Clinics are located inIndiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Keith Cook,vice president of pharmacy solutions atMedicine Shoppe, a Cardinal Healthcompany, projects 30 to 35 additionalclinics opening this year in MedicineShoppe and Medicap Pharmacy storesin 15 states. The clinics are operated byMindGent Healthcare Clinics, a subsidiaryof MindGent Healthcare Services.

"We're always looking to provide anyconvenient health care need, as well asan opportunity for the community andfranchisees," said Cook. "The goal is toprovide the same quality of health carethat is faster and less expensive thanthe emergency room or urgent care."

Medicine Shoppe's primary goal is tomeet the needs of its patients. The companyalso wants to ensure that it is satisfyingthe needs of franchise ownerswith models that support them. "Theclinics do that in today's environment," said Cook.

For patients, the clinics provide a convenientalternative to scheduling andwaiting for an appointment with theirphysicians for routine health services.The model is set up to treat patientswith or without insurance. It also providesan avenue for patients who do nothave a primary care physician.

Medicine Shoppe did seek inputfrom franchise owners about the clinics.They target locations based on theneed for a clinic in the area. Many individualsliving in rural communities areforced to travel great distances to thenearest clinic or wait at the emergencyroom of the hospital for treatment.

The advertising component falls onMindGent's shoulders. It is their responsibilityto market the clinic andvisit the physicians in the area to informthem of the clinic's opening.

The emergence of pharmacy healthclinics is not meant to step on practitioner'stoes. In fact, Cook and Acrasaid that physician feedback has beenpositive. "Everyone has been curious,including the physicians," Acra said."The pharmacy has such a close relationshipwith the physician offices inthe area that I talked with the physiciansbefore opening the clinic."

"I didn't want to surprise anyone orhave anyone feel I was stepping ontheir toes," continued Acra. "I explainedthat patients being treatedwere mostly uninsured or didn't have aregular physician. I asked the physiciansif I could put them on a referrallist for any patients that required moreextensive treatment."

Word of mouth has helped Acra'sclinic. Aside from parents with childrenfavoring the convenience and serviceprovided, the older population has referredfamily members after visitingthe clinic. The new service has alsohelped the pharmacy's bottom line. "Ofthe patients seen in the clinic, 60% arenew patients, so we've been able tocapture the business," added Acra.

Health care experts believe the in-storeclinics are a growing trend. Cookand Acra share the assessment. "It'sabsolutely a trend, especially with therising health care costs," said Cook.

"I think a clinic in a pharmacy showswe're really professionals who workhand in hand with other practitionersand not just pharmacists who fill prescriptions,"noted Acra.