Access: It's one word that may ultimately reignite the expansion of retail medicine in 2014 and beyond. CVS Caremark has added 200 new clinics since 2011, with another 850 planned by 2017. While it’s still too soon to predict a large-scale national expansion in clinic numbers, some experts believe their calling card—convenience—should be a consideration for every medical practice in the United States.
Retail clinics made their way into the healthcare market in the early 2000’s and began to grow significantly about 7 years ago. Since 2006 the number of retail clinics nationwide has expanded eight-fold from roughly 200 clinics to nearly 1,600 today.
These walk-in clinics, which tend to be located inside pharmacies, supermarkets, or “big-box” retailers, are typically staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They treat minor ailments such as strep throat and minor wounds, and offer vaccinations and physicals. Recently, some have begun to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma.