Retail clinic

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A retail clinic is 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-based clinics," "convenient care clinics," or "nurse-in-a-box." Retail clinics are usually staffed by nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs) and do not necessarily have a doctor physically available onsite.[1] Some, however, are staffed by physicians.


As of December 2015, there are more than 2,000 retail clinics located in 41 states and Washington, DC in the United States.[2] Retail clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants and most are open seven days a week – twelve hours a day during the workweek and eight hours a day on the weekend.[3]To date, retail clinics have provided care through more than 35 million patient visits and have the capacity to provide care through over 10 million patient visits per year. It is estimated that the number of retail clinics will increase dramatically in the near future, with the total number of clinics surpassing 2800 by 2017.[4]

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.[5]

A 2015 Report released by Manatt and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Building a Culture of Health: The Value Proposition of Retail Clinics, finds that consumer demand for clinics is growing and the potential for future success is substantial. Among the major reasons why consumers choose to receive care at retail clinics are convenient hours, not needing to make an appointment to be seen by a provider, convenient location, and lower costs of services. [6] Research has shown that the quality of the care received at retail clinics is comparable to, if not better than when the same care is provided in more traditional settings such as doctor's offices and emergency departments. [7] One of the strongest indicators of retail health's expanding role in the healthcare landscape is the increasing number of partnerships between clinics and hospitals and health systems. To date, there are more than 100 of these partnerships throughout the country and this number is expected to grow. [8]

Services provided[edit]

Most retail clinic treat adults and children over the age of 18 months. Retail clinics treat common family illnesses, such as:

Some retail clinics provide physical therapy with a specialist.

Retail clinics 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, retail clinics 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.[9] This limited scope of services is seen in both nurse practitioner and physician-staffed retail clinics, and is an integral part of the retail clinic model.[10]


Retail clinics are usually staffed by Nurse Practitioners (NPs) or other advanced practice nurses.[11] Some retail clinics are staffed by Physician Assistants (PAs).[12]

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.[13]

Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine under physician supervision.[14] With appropriate training and supervision, PAs can provide health care that is similar in quality to that of a primary care physician.[15]

Companies in the United States[edit]

Below are the top retail clinic operators in the United States and the number of clinics that they operate as of November 2015:[16]

Clinic Brand Host Retailer # of Clinics
Minute Clinic CVS 1019
Healthcare Clinic at Select Walgreens (formerly TakeCare Clinic) Walgreens 440
The Little Clinic Kroger, Fry's, King Soopers, Dillons 190
Target Clinic Target 78
RediClinic H-E-B Stores 46
FastCare Walmart, Shopko, Giant Eagle, ShopRite 25
Baptist Express Care at Walmart Walmart 18
Walmart Care Clinic Walmart 17
Aurora QuickCare Walmart 10
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. [17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Attraction to Walk-in Clinics". Doctors Express Urgent Care. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  2. ^ The Convenient Care Association About Page [1]
  3. ^ [2] Convenient Care Association, “CCC Factsheet.”
  4. ^ Accenture November 12, 2015
  5. ^ HealthHarbor Retail Clinic Overview
  6. ^ Building a Culture of Health: The Value Proposition of Retail Clinics, April 2015. [3]
  7. ^ The Costs and Quality of Care for Three Common Illnesses at Retail Clinics as Compared to Other Medical Settings, Ann Intern Med. 2009 Sep 1; 151(5): 321–328 [4]
  8. ^ Retail Clinic Partnerships: The Value Proposition for Hospitals and Health Systems, September 2015 [5]
  9. ^ W. Crounse, Microsoft and Health, "Healthcare goes retail," June 28, 2006.[6]
  10. ^ QuickHealth, "QuickHealth FAQ."
  11. ^ Convenient Care Association, “Home Page.”
  12. ^ Convenient Care Association, “About Physician Assistants.”
  13. ^ Mundinger, M., “Primary Care Outcomes in Patients Treated by Nurse Practitioners or Physicians,” JAMA, January 2000.
  14. ^ American Academy of Physician Assistants, “What is a PA?”
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^
  17. ^

External links[edit]