Improving Access to Care or Lowering Quality

At one time in order to get the healthcare you deserved and/or needed it was like playing darts. Your physician was the bull’s eye in the center. If it was the weekend or late at night and the need was acute enough it would be emergency room which is the next ring out from the bullseys. Finally there was the pharmacist and pharmacy where you went for poison ivy, medication side effects, diaper rash, etc. There you were likely to get advice and move along. The physician and her office was the sun and we patients were the planets revolving around. But that is changing where the patient is moving closer to the center.

The Economist has an article Medicine at the Mall which tells the story of how clinics are becoming more convenient. Walgreen is leading the change and providing patients with healthcare becoming easy. They are moving the pharmacy to the bull’s eye. Of course there have been urgent care centers and worksite clinics etc. But this move by Walgreen’s 372 pharmacy clinics and CVS Caremark’s 640 offers patient 1,012 new sites to find healthcare easier and more conveniently. Do not mistake this trend for some new healthcare disruption. These pharmacy chains are looking to partner with local hospital networks. What this is a way for patients to access healthcare on their terms matched with their needs. It is moving pharmacy to toward the center and offering patients a larger target. I would agree with Dr. Ryan this trend may be taking quality care away from the primary care physician but I would offer that these new venues and the PCP need to work together to deliver the highest quality care.

One point I want to make, no plead with the Economist shit can the stock photo or do a better job finding suitable art. 

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