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Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has formed a clinical collaboration with Community Health Network to improve access to care for patients throughout central Indiana.
Such collaborations are not only important for improved access to healthcare services by patients, but it also illustrate the growing role that they play within the healthcare system and the acceptance of such clinics among the medical community.
It is no secret that over the years some professionals in the medical community have said a major concern is the threat of patient records from the clinic visits not making it into the hands of their primary care physician — making it possible that more serious health issues may go undetected. Clinic providers, however, have long stressed that such clinics are intended to augment — not replace — a patient’s primary care physician. While some within the medical community continue to express their concerns, there’s no doubt that many are increasingly embracing the clinic concept. Collaborations such as the one between Take Care Health Systems and Community Health Network — which has more than 200 sites of care and affiliates throughout Central Indiana, including eight hospitals and a network of more than 2,000 credentialed physicians — further illustrates that point.
Meanwhile, MinuteClinic also is working to further expand its strategic affiliations with major health systems.
The healthcare environment is rapidly changing, and retail-based health clinics and the healthcare professionals working in them will only become increasingly important players within the U.S. healthcare system. This change will be further accelerated by healthcare reform and the 30 million newly insured Americans come 2014, as well as technological advancements, demographic shifts and changes in patient behavior. As Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said during its Analyst Day meeting in December, the healthcare industry is on track to change more in the next 10 years than it has in the past 50 years.