Our surprising readership


Sometimes even I am surprised by who is reading us. Last month, nearly 120,000 unique visitors came to DrugStoreNews.com. One of them was president of the American Academy of Family Physicians Glen Stream.

“In her May 23 article, ‘Physician-authored JAMA article highlights importance of retail clinics, drug store medicine,’ Antoinette Alexander highlights a recently published article that shares a vision for retail health clinics that completely outstrips the capability of these clinics as they are currently configured,” Dr. Stream wrote in his May 31 letter to the editor. To read the entire letter, visit click here.

It does seem odd, though, that the president of a big, national physician’s organization is writing the editor of DSN to debate an article that actually appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But why split hairs? Let’s just chalk it up to DSN’s extensive reach.

Christine Cassel of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the actual author of the JAMA article, half-predicted Stream’s response — and others like him — in her conclusion:

“The question is whether this phenomenon will grow and flourish in the ways described here or whether 20th century attitudes about physician and hospital dominance in health care will prevent market-­based solutions to the healthcare access and cost crisis. This model is a challenge to medical and hospital leadership, as well as to leaders in the retail health clinic industry, as they pursue the potential opportunities and benefits for the American people.”

I may not be smart enough to be the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. But I’m smart enough to know how to read, and Dr. Cassel, at no point in her article, suggested that retail clinics could or should replace the role of the physician. “The retail clinic potentially could be an important component of coordination of care aimed at reducing disease exacerbations, unnecessary hospitalizations and adverse drug interactions. If this vision were realized, the retail clinic phenomenon could be transformative for a vast number of patients in the United States,” she said.

But all Dr. Stream can see or hear is someone coming to take his job away from him. 

Readers respond

I enjoyed reading your column (“Occupy Health Care,” May 21, 2012). … It did make me wonder how ordinary bench pharmacists could be empowered to help Medicare patients [know] about the [free annual wellness visit] physical benefit. It would be a great way to get more people treated, and it would be great for pharmacy.

— Bruce Kneeland, Royersford, Pa.
, national account manager pharmacy at Epicor Software

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