Convenient care clinic
||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Convenient care clinics (CCCs) are a category of walk-in clinic located in retail stores, supermarkets and pharmacies that treat uncomplicated minor illnesses and provide preventative health care services. They are sometimes called "retail clinics," "retail-based clinics," "walk-in medical clinics," or "nurse-in-a-box." CCCs are usually staffed by nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs) and do not necessarily have a doctor physically available onsite. Some CCCs, however, are staffed by physicians.
Currently, there are over 1,900 CCCs located throughout the United States. Most CCCs are open seven days a week – twelve hours a day during the workweek and eight hours a day on the weekend. Because CCCs are such a new development, only a small percentage of Americans have received health care in a CCC setting. It is estimated, however, that the number of CCCs will increase dramatically in the near future.
The 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers, from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, finds the appetite for retail medical clinics is real, and growing, and the potential for future success substantial. The following statistics demonstrate the increase in consumer interest in retail clinics.
- More than 1 in 3 consumers surveyed are receptive to the idea of using retail clinics
- 1 in 6 already have
- Interest in retail clinics is especially high among "baby boomers", with nearly 38 percent saying they would use a retail clinic
- By generation, seniors are the least likely and "millennials" are the most likely to use a retail clinic
The survey says that these clinics are particularly popular among those who are identified as:
- Being in better-than-average health
- More distrustful of hospitals and doctors
- More likely to be suspicious of the medications that hospitals and doctors prescribe
A major driver of the walk-in clinic growth trend is the focus on cost. As more patients with higher deductibles seek out care options, the reduced cost of retail settings is a viable option for routine care. For example, according to one analysis, the typical cost of diagnosing an earache was $59 at a retail or walk-in provider, $95 in doctor's office, $135 at urgent care, $184 in an emergency room.
Most CCCs treat adults and children over the age of 18 months. CCCs treat common family illnesses, such as:
- Cold and Flu
- Sinus Infections
- Minor injuries, burns and rashes
- Sore throat
- Head lice
- Sprains and strains
- Ear infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Diarrhea and intestinal infections
- Allergy test
Some CCCs provide physical therapy with a specialist.
CCCs also provide preventative care, including health screenings, vaccinations, and physical exams. They may serve as sample collection points for blood, urine and feces for laboratory tests, which are then sent to external labs.
By definition, CCCs offer a more narrow range of services (usually limited to 25 - 30 of the most common diagnoses) than are offered in traditional primary care offices. This limited scope of services is seen in both nurse practitioner and physician-staffed CCCs, and is an integral part of the CCC model.
Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education and training who provide a broad scope of health care services. NPs engage in health promotion, patient evaluation, treatment, diagnosis, education, counseling, case management and coordination of care. One study found that patients of advanced practice nurses had similar outcomes to patients of primary care physicians.
Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine under physician supervision. With appropriate training and supervision, PAs can provide health care that is similar in quality to that of a primary care physician.
Companies in the United States
As of the July 2013, the top ten convenient care clinic operators in the United States were:
|Clinic Brand||Host Retailer||# of Clinics|
|Healthcare Clinic (formerly TakeCare Clinic)||Walgreens||371|
|The Little Clinic||Kroger, Fry's, King Soopers, Dillons||166|
|FastCare||Walmart, Shopko, Giant Eagle, ShopRite||25|
|Baptist Express Care at Walmart||Walmart||18|
|DR Walk-in Medical Clinics||Duane Reade||13|
|Lindora Health Clinics||RiteAid||7|
The Convenient Care Association (CCA) is the national trade association that represents the industry to sustain its growth and share best practices and standards of operation. 
- "Attraction to Walk-in Clinics". Doctors Express Urgent Care. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- The Convenient Care Association About Page 
- Convenient Care Association, “CCC Factsheet.”
- California Health Care Foundation, “Health Care in the Express Lane: The Emergence of Retail Clinics." 
- Kaiser Family Foundation, Daily Report, August 24, 2006
- 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, February 2008. 
- HealthHarbor Retail Clinic Overview http://www.healthharbor.com/SavingRetailHealthCost
- W. Crounse, Microsoft and Health, "Healthcare goes retail," June 28, 2006.
- QuickHealth, "QuickHealth FAQ."
- Convenient Care Association, “Home Page.”
- Convenient Care Association, “About Physician Assistants.”
- Mundinger, M., “Primary Care Outcomes in Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians,” JAMA, January 2000.
- American Academy of Physician Assistants, “What is a PA?”
- E. Sekscenski, et al., “State practice environments and the supply of physician assistants, nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1994.
- The ConvUrgentCare Report: U.S. Walk-in Clinic Market Report, Volume 6, No. 7. Merchant Medicine, LLC. July 1, 2013.
- Convenient Care Association
- Health Care On Aisle 7: The Growing Phenomenon of Retail Clinics [Rand Health, November 2009]
- Comparing Costs and Quality of Care at Retail Clinics With That of Other Medical Settings for 3 Common Illnesses Annals of Internal Medicine, September 2009]
- Retail Clinics, Primary Care Physicians, And Emergency Departments: A Comparison Of Patients’ Visits [Health Affairs, September 2008]
- Health Care in the Express Lane: The Emergence of Retail Clinics (California HealthCare Foundation, July 2006)
- Health Care in the Express Lane: Retail Clinics Go Mainstream (California HealthCare Foundation, September 2007)
- USA Today - “Could Walk-In Clinics Help Slow Rising Health Care Costs?”
- KaiserNetwork.org - “Thousands More Retail-Based Clinics Expected to Open”
- ABC News - "Future of Health Care or Quick Fix?"
- Medscape - "Working in a Retail Clinic: What Nurse Practitioners Need to Ask"
- The New York Times Magazine: "The Year In Ideas: Walk-In Health Care"
- National Post (Canada) - "Attention Shoppers: Flu Shots in Aisle 3"
- Healthcare 311 - Searchable database of US retail clinics
- Healthcare 311 News - Healthcare 311 publisher's blog on the topics of retail clinics, convenient care, health innovations, and more
- Retail Healthcare News
- Urgent Care Locations