Report: National telehealth network proposed

NEW YORK With the country focused on expanding health care to 46 million uninsured, the fact that UnitedHealth and Cisco have thought to include retail clinics into their joint telehealth solution is a nod to the important role clinics play as healthcare extenders.

 

And at a time when Congress weighs the plusses and minuses of ObamaCare, particularly the question of how to pay for the $1 trillion cost of reform, it is important to call to mind the Health Partner Study, which found that the care delivered in retail-based clinics is cheaper than that found in physician offices and urgent care.

 

 

This news is an important reminder that perhaps it doesn?t have to cost that much for healthcare reform, and that there are opportunities — as easily accessible as walking into a CVS/pharmacy or Walgreens — that deliver quality care at a fraction of the cost. That key opportunity: The retail-based clinic.

 

 

According to the Health Partner Study findings, published in late 2008, medical costs for care delivered in retail-based medical clinics, such as MinuteClinic, are between 32% and 35% less compared with care delivered in physician offices and urgent care locations. Retail-based clinics aren’t the only cost-savings opportunity. So are worksite clinics.

 

 

As recently reported by Drug Store News, the findings of a recent Take Care Health Systems’ survey underscored the importance of worksite clinics, which are growing increasingly common as U.S. employers look for ways to curb skyrocketing health care costs and bolster employee health and productivity.

 

 

That study highlights what clinic operators — like Take Care Health Systems with its 300-plus worksite clinics — have known for some time: investing in integrated workplace health and pharmacy programs can, in fact, help employers realize healthcare savings, while improving patient outcomes.