The next frontier in healthcare collaboration: Hospital-retail clinic cooperation

Healthcare is an increasingly collaborative industry, and as retail clinics continue to proliferate, hospitals may want to partner with them, according to a report from the Convenient Care Association (CCA).

Consumers are attracted to the clinics because of convenience, and according to the report, more than 3 in 10 Americans can reach a retail clinic by car within 10 minutes. The report further found clinics provide care with quality on par with that of emergency rooms or urgent care clinics.

Not only do the clinics offer an opportunity to expand primary care access, they can act as the first line for defense against chronic illnesses through increased access to screening and management resources, freeing up resources at hospitals, according to the report. Moreover, joint efforts by hospitals/health systems and clinics can also strengthen post-discharge health management by easing access to follow-up care within 30 days of discharge, the CCA said.

"For many patients, a retail clinic visit is their first contact with the complex healthcare system and as many as 60 percent of retail clinic patients do not have an established primary care provider," the report said. "Through affiliations with the health systems, retail clinics can offer patients easier access to the affiliated health systems."

Meanwhile, IP Network, a Maitland, Florida-based physician group, has announced plans to open 12 urgent care clinics in the central part of the state, according to the Orlando Business Journal. The group, which comprises more than 700 independent physicians, is purchasing and expanding existing clinics to add features such as emergency and radiology services, reopening them as "ER Clinix." Clinics will open within the next six months in Central Florida's Waterford Lakes and Lake Nona areas, according to Jason Pirozzolo, co-creator and vice president of business development of IP Network.  

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)
- here's the article