Fourth annual Retail Clinician Education Congress brings together retail healthcare professionals

ORLANDO, Fla. — This year’s fourth annual Retail Clinician Education Congress kicked off on Monday, bringing together hundreds of retail healthcare professionals to network, receive exclusive accreditation and honor those providers and key executive leaders whose work throughout the year has distinguished them among their peers in retail health care.

The conference, held Aug. 1 to 3 at Gaylord Palms in Orlando, takes place during National Convenient Care Clinic Week. Last year, the U.S. Senate voted to make the first week of August National Convenient Care Clinic Week. Attendance for this year's conference exceeds last year with almost 400 nurse practitioners in attendance, including more than 60 pharmacists who were preregistered to attend Tuesday's dually accredited sessions for NPs and pharmacists.

“If no one has beaten me to it yet, allow me to be the first to wish you happy National Convenient Care Clinic Week," said Rob Eder, editor-in-chief of The Drug Store News Group, which publishes Retail Clinician magazine, during the opening remarks. "You know, when you stop to think about it, that is really an amazing accomplishment. ... The U.S. Senate thinks so highly of the work you are doing in retail clinics all across America that [it has] named the first week of August in your honor — a whole week for our country to stop and pay tribute to the important work you all do every day.”

The Drug Store News Group, in conjunction with the Convenient Care Association, is hosting the Retail Clinician Education Congress. “Over the next few days, we hope to feed you full of great new ideas and best practices that you can bring home with you and immediately begin to incorporate into your work with patients,” Eder told attendees.

The 2011 Retail Clinician Education Congress offers exclusive accreditation and networking opportunities for retail healthcare professionals, with conference topics ranging from exploring new healthcare products and patient care resources to the latest options on chronic disease management. The event offers more than 13 hours of live continuing education.

Monday’s highlights included the new Executive and Health Systems Leadership Colloquium. The new track, which ran concurrent with other sessions, is designed to bring hospital executives and health system administrators together with retail operators who are not already in the retail clinic business or are looking to expand the scope of services within clinics.

Partnering with local healthcare systems and taking a more regionalized, healthcare system-driven approach is growing increasingly common within the convenient care industry.

“This was our first executive track and it was an overwhelming success. It was standing-room only, due to the great speakers, who have followed our industry and reported on the accessibility, affordability and quality of care delivered in the clinics,” Convenient Care Association executive director Tine Hansen-Turton said.

Among the presenters in the new track:

  • Jason Hwang, an internal medicine physician and executive director of healthcare at Innosight Institute, who discussed the value and importance of disruptive innovation, such as retail-based health clinics;

  • Ateev Mehrotra, a policy analyst at RAND and an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, who provided industry research updates; and

  • Paul Keckley, executive director for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, who discussed healthcare-reform trends and what retail clinics could look like in “version 3.0.”

“Retail medicine will evolve from 2.0 ... to something much more holistic, and that will become part of a clinical model that evolves. I don’t think you can evolve as an industry unless your pricing mechanisms are tied to value, not peace work. ... It seems to me that retail medicine can be a very important part of that scheme of value,” Keckley told attendees.

Monday’s program came to a close with the fourth annual Retail Clinician CARE Awards, which celebrate the special accomplishments of a select group of practitioners, who over the past year have distinguished themselves through some special act that defines excellence in patient care.

“The CARE Awards salute the Unsung Heroes whose special actions have come to define excellence in patient care. It is also a time to salute the leaders of our industry who have lent their voice and vision to championing the cause of retail health — and not just on behalf of their own companies or even just the convenient care industry, but in the name of better access and affordability to high-quality health care for all Americans,” Eder said.